Senior man in a wheelchair in a nursing home, experiencing abuse.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect (and Why It Happens)

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of nursing home residents. According to the New York Times, one-third of all coronavirus deaths in the United States were of nursing home residents or workers. As the lockdowns begin to thaw and Americans slowly return to a sense of normalcy, nursing home abuse and neglect will, unfortunately, remain problems.

If you have a loved one living in one of these facilities, it is vital that you know the signs to look for and why abuse and neglect happen. The Chicago personal injury attorneys of Hale & Monico fight to hold negligent nursing homes accountable, and we can assist you.

Nursing home abuse and neglect take many forms, but most people associate the terms with some sort of physical harm or deprivation. However, other types of injuries include sexual, financial, and emotional abuse. Neglect usually means failure to properly feed or supervise a patient. The term can also apply to the facility’s failure to protect a resident from someone else living there, or from outside visitors and strangers.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

These are just a few of the signs that a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home:

  • Unexplained physical injuries such as burns, blisters, broken bones, and cuts
  • Bedsores, which are generally avoidable
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Unexplained or unusual financial transactions, purchases, and missing money and personal property
  • Signs of sexual abuse and assault
  • Poor hygiene
  • Social isolation
  • Severe punishment or disciplinary measures
  • Changes in behavior
  • Increased anxiety or depression

Tragically, in all too many cases, patients die for reasons that are not immediately clear. The fact is, nursing home abuse and neglect can happen to anyone. But there are reasons that one facility may be more prone to these problems than others. Abuse and neglect often occur where the following factors are present:

  • Inexperienced or poorly trained staff members
  • Understaffing, or simply too many residents and not enough staff
  • Failure to abide by Illinois nursing home licensing requirements (or not being licensed at all)
  • Inattentive or neglectful nursing home staff and employees
  • Failure of the nursing home to conduct proper background checks of employees

One of the most overlooked causes of nursing home abuse and neglect is failure by the patient’s family to regularly visit. Abuse and neglect often happen where there is little or no family involvement. This leads to the resident being isolated and having no one to turn to in the event he or she is abused or neglected.

Federal and state laws have been enacted to protect nursing home residents. In particular, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act affords nursing home patients numerous rights designed to protect them from abuse and neglect. While these laws certainly don’t prevent such problems, they help ensure some measure of justice for abuse victims and their families.

Contact Hale & Monico Today

We understand how painful it is to learn that your loved one has been hurt in a nursing home facility. And we’re here to help. Victims often need medical care and may be entitled to other forms of monetary compensation for their injuries. You can count on the aggressive Chicago personal injury lawyers of Hale & Monico. Call us today.