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Rockford nursing home neglect lawyerAs our parents and loved ones grow older, moving independently and making everyday decisions about finances or healthcare can become extremely difficult. Physical illness, intellectual degeneration, and other ailments of aging can make caring for a family member at home impossible and the decision to place someone in a nursing home, while difficult, may be the best option. 

We should all be able to trust a nursing home to provide the best care for our aging parents. Unfortunately, understaffing, poor training, and efforts to cut corners all happen sometimes in nursing homes. When nursing home abuse and neglect takes place, residents can suffer - and one of the first signs that residents are getting inadequate care is the appearance of bedsores

What Causes Bedsores? 

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are injuries that appear when skin is damaged because of prolonged pressure on one or more areas of the body. Bedsores are particularly prone to developing on protruding areas like hips, ankles, heels, the back of the head, and the tailbone when someone has difficulty moving and spends most of their time in bed or in a chair. 

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Winnebago County Nursing Home Abuse LawyerAfter a family has made the difficult, often heartbreaking decision to move a loved one into an Illinois nursing home, the family members of the nursing home resident may continue to face additional stress because they worry their loved one is not being properly cared for. Stories of nursing home neglect and abuse are widespread, and, unfortunately, incidents are common. Although accidents and injuries tend to happen more often to elderly people, if your loved one has suffered a broken bone or fracture in their nursing home, you may rightfully wonder if it was an accident or whether something like neglect or even physical abuse is going on. 

What Causes Broken Bones and Fractures in Nursing Home Residents? 

In addition to the clear dangers of physical abuse, more mundane behavior on the part of nursing home staff and supervisors may be responsible for residents’ injuries. Nursing home residents often suffer from weakness, frailty, and difficulty with independent movement. This places them at increased risk of falling and getting injured, especially if nursing home staff are not properly monitoring residents and offering support when necessary. Even minor accidents can result in serious injuries, and not every injury is a consequence of nursing home neglect. However, many behaviors can contribute to an increased rate of resident injuries, including: 

Rockford personal injury attorneysNursing homes and other long-term care facilities should be staffed with competent, compassionate employees. The facility should be reasonably safe and sanitary. Residents’ medical and personal needs should be attended to promptly and adequately. Unfortunately, many nursing homes do not meet these expectations. Issues like understaffing or poor staff training lead to resident neglect or even intentional abuse. If your loved one is living in a nursing home, it is important to be watchful for signs of neglect or abuse.

Red Flags of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse

Knowing if your loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home is especially difficult if your loved one suffers from physical or mental impairments that limit his or her ability to communicate with you. In cases such as these, you must look for evidence such as:

  • Unexplained injuries – Cuts, bruises, welts, or other injuries are not always signs of resident neglect or abuse. However, if your loved one has injuries that staff cannot explain or is frequently getting hurt, this may be a sign that your loved one is not being properly cared for. In some cases, injuries are even signs of intentional physical abuse.  
  • Fear of being alone with staff – Residents should see nursing home staff as loving caretakers. If your loved one is afraid to be alone with staff or flinches when staff members come near, this can be a major red flag.
  • Medication mistakes – Your loved one should be getting his or her medications on time and in the correct dosage. Do not hesitate to speak up if your loved one is not receiving his or her medications.
  • Signs of physical or chemical restraint – Physical restraining a resident through ties, lap belts, or other means is only acceptable in very limited circumstances. Medication such as antipsychotic drugs should not be used as a means of chemical restraint. Residents should only receive the medications that they actually require.
  • Odd staff behavior – If staff refuse to talk to you, rush out of the room when you walk in, or exhibit other odd behaviors, this may be a sign that they have mistreated your loved one.
  • Unsanitary conditions –If you see trash, feces, or urine, unsanitary kitchen practices, signs of insect or animal infestation, or other unsanitary conditions, this may be a sign that the facility does not take residents’ health seriously.
  • Inadequate resident hygiene – Your loved one deserves to be treated with dignity. This includes being bathed regularly and having his or her adult diaper changed when needed. Residents should not be forced to tolerate soiled clothing or bed sheets.

Contact a Winnebago County Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Lawyer

At Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS, our Rockford nursing home injury attorneys stand up for the rights of nursing home residents and their families. If your loved one was the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, we can help you hold the nursing home accountable and pursue financial recovery. Call 815-215-7561 for a free consultation.

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Winnebago County nursing home abuse and neglect attorney

Making the decision to place your loved one in a nursing home can be a difficult, but necessary, conclusion that many children will come to as their parents advance in age. Maybe you do not have space to house your elderly parents or perhaps their conditions require medical attention around the clock. Regardless of the reasons behind the action, you are entrusting your loved one’s well-being in the hands of someone else. The staff at nursing homes are trained professionals and should be well-equipped to handle any circumstances that may arise. Unfortunately, neglect and abuse are common occurrences behind nursing home doors. Without adequate attention, your elderly parent could see his or her future taking a quick turn for the worse as a result of life-threatening conditions, including sepsis.

What Is Sepsis?

This condition is caused by the body’s response to an infection and is potentially life-threatening if it is left untreated. Normally, your body releases chemicals as soon as infections begin to manifest. When these chemicals get out of balance, damage can occur to the body’s organ systems causing them to improperly function. This condition is known as sepsis. If left untreated, sepsis can quickly escalate to septic shock, causing blood pressure to dramatically drop to fatal levels. Although sepsis can occur to anyone who has an infection, elderly people are common targets for sepsis and have a more difficult time recovering from its impact.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysIt is estimated that about 1.5 million people currently live in nursing home facilities in the United States. Nursing home staff are responsible for helping residents with medical needs as well as everyday needs such as showering, going to the bathroom, and eating meals. Most importantly, it is the nursing home staff’s responsibility to keep the residents safe. It is hard to believe that anyone would intentionally harm an elderly or disabled individual. However, nursing home resident abuse is tragically not that uncommon. When a nursing home staff member abuses a resident physically, mentally, sexually, financially, or otherwise, the facility may be liable for damages.  

Types of Resident Abuse

When we hear the word “abuse” physical violence such as hitting, pinching, or kicking may come to mind. However, this is just one of several forms of abuse to which residents may be subjected. Mental or psychological abuse involves a nursing home worker intentionally upsetting or frightening a resident. 

Working in a nursing home facility can be a stressful and frustrating occupation. Sadly, some nursing home staff use work stress as an excuse to belittle, intimidate, or mock residents. Increasingly, social media is being used to violate residents’ privacy. Workers have been caught taking and distributing humiliating photographs of residents using applications like Snapchat. This is not only an unacceptable invasion of resident privacy; it is often also a direct violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Sexual abuse is also a serious problem in U.S. nursing homes. In one horrific case, a female resident in a vegetative state became pregnant after being the victim of rape. A nurse working at the facility has been arrested and charged with sexual assault and is currently awaiting trial.  

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