Nursing homes are meant to be places of refuge and safety for elderly individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have anybody to provide them with the daily living assistance that they need. While many nursing homes are well respected establishments that treat all of their patients with the dignity and respect that they deserve, there are rotten apples in every bunch, and cases of nursing home abuse are unfortunately common.
Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse within a nursing home can take many forms. It can be physical, emotional, mental, or financial. Many victims of nursing home abuse have reported intentional infliction of pain by nursing home staff, withholding of meals, confinement to quarters for excessive periods of time, excessive charges for services / amenities, taunting by staff, theft, and other acts that shock the conscience.
Physical and emotional abuse includes any sexual abuse, assault, or excessive restraint; overworked and underpaid staffers have been known to take out their frustrations on nursing home residents, who constitute a “captive audience.” While many facilities are professionally staffed and operated, other nursing homes are not. Signs of abuse may include cuts, bruises, bed sores, ulcers, unexpected mood or attitude changes (like depression or withdrawal), hunger, thirst, and a sudden medical emergency, coma, or unexpected death.
Neglect is also a form of nursing home abuse, and bed sores are a common sign of neglect. Bed sores, or pressure ulcers, are caused by decreased blood flow due to a lack of movement. These kinds of sores are most common in patients who are bedridden, use a wheelchair, and who generally cannot move very much on their own. Bed sores can be fatal if left untreated, but are generally preventable if patients are rotated / shifted at regular intervals.
If you believe that you or a loved have been the victim of abuse suffered at the hands of nursing home staff, then you should contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney like me, Joseph M. Dooley. I’ve been practicing law for over three decades and have represented a number of individuals who have suffered injury at the hands of others, and I am confident that I can competently and diligently represent your legal interests as you pursue the compensation that you or your loved one may be owed for any injuries or losses suffered. You or your loved one may also be able to recover for infliction of emotional distress, pain and suffering, and certain other damages as allowed.
Financial Abuse of the Elderly
Thousands of elderly Illinois residents suffer abuse and neglect every year. Abuse and neglect numbers are actually expected to rise as the “boomer” generation continues to age. While many of us recognize the obvious signs of physical or mental abuse of the elderly, financial abuse can be more subtle, thus harder to spot.
Nationally, more than seven percent of all financial abuse crimes are committed by a nursing home or assisted-living facility staff member. In states with high elderly populations, such Florida and Arizona, that percentage is substantially higher. Sometimes theft is difficult to detect; stolen checks can be traced, but jewelry and other small items can often be stolen and considered “lost” without initially raising suspicions.
Taking money or property from an elderly person in any illegal or inappropriate manner constitutes financial abuse. It can range from stealing cash or jewelry to swindling someone out of stocks or real estate. Always, financial abuse injures the elderly by robbing them of their assets at a vulnerable and often uncertain time in life. The signs that an elderly loved one or friend may be a victim of financial abuse can include:
- Missing cash, jewelry, or other valuable personal items
- Unpaid bills piling up
- Strange bank account activity
- Checks and other financial documents with odd signatures
If an elderly friend or loved one gives a valuable or otherwise unusual gift to a caretaker or other acquaintance, and that individual is relatively new in the elderly person’s life, that person should probably receive some levelheaded scrutiny. The worst offenders take months – but seldom years – gaining the trust of their intended targets.
The family of a nursing home or assisted living facility resident should monitor all financial transactions including checks, debits, and credit card transactions. It’s also a good idea to acquaint yourself personally with the staff and with the families of other residents; one deterrence to thievery is when the thieves know they are being watched.
If an elderly person you love has been hurt or otherwise exploited by financial abuse, get help from experienced nursing home abuse attorney Joseph Dooley. In some cases, a caretaker’s employer may be responsible for failing to properly screen employment applications. In other cases, the police may be become involved and criminal charges may be filed. A good nursing home abuse lawyer can investigate your situation and help you take the right action.
Should you file a personal injury lawsuit, experienced nursing home abuse attorney Joseph Dooley will fight for the compensation your loved one deserves. Nothing is more important than your loved ones; if you suspect abuse of any kind, contact a good nursing home abuse lawyer as quickly as possible.
Contact A Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
An attorney like me by your side can help you with your case by offering legal counsel and representation along the way. This means that I will advise you on the legal aspects of your case, answer any questions about the law that you may have as it relates to your case, speak on your behalf, present your case for a judge and/or jury, and generally make sure that you are able to steer clear of any legal speed bumps along the way. If your case does hit a speed bump, I will continue to offer my advice and counsel so that, hopefully, we can move past the issue and proceed with helping you to recover the compensation you are owed from the person or entity responsible for causing the abuses and injuries in question.