Signs of Nursing Home Abuse May Be Missed

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.

Other signs of problems with care in a nursing home can be harder to detect and may be overlooked more easily as a result. Nursing home patients who lose significant weight or whose appearance changes drastically may be victims of malnutrition or dehydration, a problem faced by approximately one-third of all nursing home residents in the United States, according to a recent study. Additionally as many as 30 to 50 percent of nursing home patients may be underweight due to malnutrition and other factors and this decreased weight can lead to serious medical complications that otherwise would be avoided.

Patients who become non-communicative and/or withdrawn may be victims of abuse and may be so distressed by the events that it alters their ability to interact with those around them. This can be especially suggestive if patients are able to communicate but are unwilling to do so at specified times, including when staff members or physicians are near. Similarly, a change in behaviors can indicate troubling care and things like continued rocking, biting, sucking, and a sudden fear of being touched should never be overlooked.

Bed sores are a very common sign of a lack of care provided to nursing home residents who may be limited in their mobility. Bed sores, pressure sores, or pressure ulcers develop when prolonged pressure is applied to one area of the skin. They derive their name from the fact that people who are bed-bound and who are not moved regularly experience them as their skin breaks down in areas where it continually touches a bed. It is the duty of employees of nursing homes to attend to residents regularly and to assist them in movements so that pressure sores do not develop, meaning that if a loved one is suffering from bed sores, it may be a sign that the appropriate level of care has not been provided.

If you have concerns about the care your family member is receiving in an Illinois nursing home or if you suspect that your loved one has suffered from abuse or neglect, call the personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and let one of our licensed attorneys provide you with a free case consultation. There is no obligation on your part for speaking with us and the facts discussed during the consultation will always be kept confidential. We have a lawyer available to take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and if we represent your loved one, we will never charge a fee unless we are successful on her behalf.

The law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C. has helped numerous nursing home victims receive the relief they deserve over the years and we want to help your family as well. If you have concerns, call us now or contact us online to learn more about your legal options.

Prior Blog Entry:

Antibiotics May Be Overused in Illinois Nursing Homes, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published October 15, 2015.