121415(2)The presence of a pressure sore, often called a bed sore, is not a normal condition or part of the average process of being a nursing home patient. Instead, these wounds can often reflect a lack of care that is being provided to a resident or even intentional abuse perpetrated by the staff of Illinois nursing home upon some of their most vulnerable patients.

Pressure sores are injuries that occur when too much weight, or pressure, is applied to a person’s skin for a prolonged period of time. Typically they happen when an immobile patient is forced to lay in a bed all day or sit in a chair for hours on end without that patient’s weight being redistributed. If the same portions of the skin support a significant amount of a patient’s weight, that skin will break down over time, exposing the soft tissues underneath or even a patient’s bone. Once a bed sore forms, they can be very difficult to treat and they make it much more likely that a patient will contract an infection through the site of the injury.

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111815What does nursing home abuse look like? It might sound like a simple question to ask, but the answer is anything but easy. Nursing home abuse can take many different forms and can present itself in unique ways, making it challenging for the loved ones of patients to recognize any malfeasance. In some instances, abuse may be physical and may leave bruising or broken bones. In other instances, nursing home patients may suffer from malnutrition because of a lack of appropriate care.

Delayed treatment or the failure to address problems in nursing home patients can be another sign of abuse or neglect in these facilities. In Illinois, the Nursing Home Care Act requires that all facilities providing nursing home services give the proper treatment to those in their care. If an injury takes place, an infection sets in, or a medical condition worsens, the Nursing Home Care Act may require employees and owners of a nursing home to address those issues and to ensure that a resident is being provided for. Failing to do so may lead to legal liability and may cause greater harm to the patient.

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1816If you made the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home in Illinois, you may find yourself wondering about the care she will receive. Will her needs be met? Will his medication be given on time? How can I know that the nursing home is the right spot for her? Most family members are faced with countless questions when they have someone they love in a care facility, and often, those same family members do not understand how to find the right answers that they deserve.

The biggest issue for many is the safety of their loved ones while in a nursing home. While safety should not have to be a concern, unfortunately it is because countless incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect happen every year in Illinois and across the nation. From ignored requests for help to physical assaults, these incidents can occur in many forms and may be difficult to identify.

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122815(3)Many residents in Illinois nursing homes require assistance with their daily tasks and cannot function without help. This may include bathing, getting dressed, ambulating, taking medication, using the restroom, and eating. In fact, the need for this type of care is often one of the driving factors that lead family members to place a loved one in a nursing home or other long term care facility – while the needs associated with any illnesses or injuries may be minor, the work that must go into the other, day-to-day tasks can be so great that few families can manage the care without assistance.

In Illinois, state and federal laws require facilities to provide a certain level of care to residents and failing to do so may constitute nursing home abuse or neglect. But when it comes to the care provided to a particular resident, it can be difficult to determine whether that level of care is met or exceeded. Often, incidents may appear to be accidents or may seem like there was no intent behind them but these may still trigger legal liability on the part of a nursing home, its employees, and its directors.

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121415(2)While incidents of sexual abuse in Illinois routinely make the news, the sexual abuse of elderly individuals is rarely publicized. It is so uncommon that many in the area do not realize it exists. Yet the reality is that residents of nursing homes, hospitals, and other long term care facilities are at risk for being the victims of sexual abuse and that these incidents happen every single year.

Often, the elderly who reside in nursing homes suffer from physical and mental ailments that make them vulnerable to abuse. In a number of instances, a resident may be unable to report the criminal conduct due to an inability to communicate or may even forget the abuse done to them. But these incidents are traumatic and can cause not only physical damages but also mental anguish and suffering, leading to damages that should be addressed.

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1796The care provided to elderly residents of nursing homes must be of the utmost quality so that each and every resident has her needs met. From assistance with daily tasks like getting dressed to meals and even medication dosing, those who work in nursing homes are required to act within a set standard of care so that they will not act in a manner that is detrimental to the residents’ health.

But new information has been uncovered that suggests an underlying threat to the safety of those who call an Illinois nursing facility their home, and it is likely that the residents, employees, and even management of those homes are unaware of the issue. The information stems from a study by the Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital and was published recently in the American Journal of Infection Control and it suggests that not enough is being done to recognize, address, and eradicate drug-resistant bacteria that lurks in nursing facilities.

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111815Placing a loved one in a nursing home or other long-term care facility can be a difficult, even agonizing decision for a family to make. Often, people first struggle with the concept of a residential facility versus at-home care, and if a residential setting is deemed desirable, then families must try to determine which facility will best meet their loved one’s needs. Currently, many of the top nursing homes in Illinois have long, extensive waiting lists that prevent families from placing loved ones immediately. This makes it even more challenging to decide where a loved one should reside as the ideal home may not be accepting patients or may have a waiting list that seems formidable.

Ideally, a family would select a placement for an elderly person in need and then would be able to rest assured that appropriate care and treatment would be provided. However, the reality of nursing home care may be troubling as concerns over nursing home abuse and neglect often arise. If this is the first time that a family has placed a loved one in a home, they may be unfamiliar with the prevalence of abuse and neglect and may not understand what signs are an indication of improper care.

The signs of abuse and neglect that leave physical marks may be the easiest for families to spot. Broken bones, bruises, abrasions, scrapes, and other signs of trauma can be an indication that a nursing home resident was assaulted or otherwise was not cared for properly. These sometimes may come from a resident falling or from a patient being dropped by staff members during a transfer, both of which may be considered abuse or neglect of these patients.

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101515%282%29.jpgAs Americans age, we use a larger and larger portion of the overall healthcare services available and provided every year. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently concluded that 49 percent of all health care costs are used by people aged 65 and older. Further, some of the people with the highest overall demands on the healthcare system also are aged 65 and older, an important fact as the Americans with the top five percent of healthcare needs utilize 50 percent of all healthcare provided in this country.

Now, new information is being released that sheds light on one segment of the healthcare provided to citizens who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and it may not all be positive.
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10515%284%29.jpgThere is no denying that the country as a whole is aging with the Baby Boomers approaching and possibly having reached retirement. As this trend continues over the next 20 years, experts expect the demand placed on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to skyrocket as those older Americans need assistance with their daily lives.

As our nation ages, the number of individuals affected with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease increases as well. Today, estimates indicate that approximately half of all adults over the age of 85 have some form of dementia and nationally, more than five million adults are suffering from signs of the disease.
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92415.jpgIf you make the difficult decision to place your loved one in an Illinois nursing home, what concerns should you have? Should you have to worry about their daily activities or the level of care they will receive? What about their safety as they move about the home?

Nursing homes within the state are governed by federal and state laws that require them to provide adequate care to their patients in a safe environment, so in theory, you should not have to worry about your loved one’s care. Unfortunately, though, every day incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect occur around the country that leave victims injured, or in the most extreme cases, even dead. As a result, it is reasonable that family members of nursing home patients stay informed about the daily functions of a home to ensure that their loved one is receiving the best care possible.
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