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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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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysDeciding to place a disabled or elderly loved one in a nursing home can be an extremely difficult decision to make. On one hand, you want your loved one to be able to maintain as much independence as possible, but on the other hand, you want to ensure that he or she is safe. When the loved one can no longer complete daily living tasks and look out or his or her own wellbeing, a nursing home may be your only option. While many nursing home staff are hard-working, compassionate caretakers, instances of nursing home neglect and abuse do happen. One indicator that a nursing home resident is not being adequately cared for is reoccurring bedsores.

Causes of Bed Sores

Bed sores, also called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are wounds caused by long periods of pressure on body parts. The symptoms of bed sores start out mild and then become increasingly noticeable. The skin will first appear discolored or take on a “waxy” appearance or firm texture. If the pressure to the body part is not relieved, the skin can become much more damaged and develop into a painful open wound. Bed sores that are not treated are prone to serious infection. Pressure ulcers are most likely to occur the buttocks, back, hips, and ankles. Bed sores are especially common in individuals who have decreased mobility. Spending long periods of time laying down in bed or sitting in a wheelchair can cause bed sores to develop. For this reason, nursing home staff are trained to help residents with limited mobility periodically move around or change positions.  

Negligence Can Lead to Worsening Bed Sores

Nursing home staff should be fully aware of the dangers that bed sores present to residents. They should help prevent bed sores by keeping the resident clean and dry and frequently repositioning him or her. If a bed sore starts to develop, nursing home staff should adequately treat the sore so that it does not worsen. This can include more frequent repositioning, medications, and wound care. When nursing home workers do not take these steps, the resident can be in danger of developing a potentially life-threatening infection. If you have a loved one in a nursing home and he or she is frequently developing bed sores, this could be a sign that he or she is not receiving adequate care from nursing home staff.

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Rockford nursing home injury attorneysIt is hard to believe that anyone could be so cruel as to abuse a sick or elderly person in a nursing home, but it does happen. Research shows that about one out of every ten U.S. adults over age 60 have experienced elder abuse. Nursing home abuse, as well as nursing home neglect, is tragically common in the United States. Many nursing home residents suffer from mental and physical illnesses that make it difficult to express when they are being mistreated or abused. Some residents may even keep abuse a secret because they are afraid that they will be retaliated against for reporting the abuse. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, be vigilant for signs that they are being abused.

Physical Signs of Abuse

Sometimes, telling the difference between an injury caused by accident and an injury caused by a nursing home staff member can be difficult. Signs of physical abuse can include bruises, cuts, scrapes, pressure marks, broken bones, dislocations, burns, and more. When nursing home staff cannot explain why a resident has an injury such as these, this is a red flag that something is not right.

Tragically, nursing home residents can also suffer from sexual abuse. An individual who has been sexually abused by have problems walking or sitting, develop a sexually transmitted infection, have bruising on the genitals or thighs, urinary tract infections, and pain. Recently, a horrific incidence of nursing home sexual abuse made headlines after a woman in a vegetative state gave birth to a child.  A nurse working at the facility has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting the woman and causing her to become pregnant.

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