Preventing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Illinois Medical Malpractice Attorney

Nursing home abuse and neglect is, unfortunately, all too common. Nursing homes are overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded. Choosing a safe nursing home is the first step in preventing nursing home abuse. It is also important to know how to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse, and what to do if you suspect that you or someone you love is the victim of nursing home abuse.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Home

Making the decision to enter a nursing home facility is often a difficult one for elders and their families. Before choosing a nursing home facility, the following factors should be carefully examined:

  • Evacuation plan in place for emergencies
  • Adequate working smoke detectors
  • Adequate placement and maintenance of fire extinguishers
  • Adequate safety procedures with clearly marked stairways and exits clearly marked
  • Ease of movement throughout facility
  • Halls and toilets can support wheelchair access
  • Lack of floor hazards
  • Emphasis on resident/patient independence
  • Adequate and safe bathing facilities
  • Easily accessible dining facilities
  • Appropriate staff-to-patient ratio
  • Prompt response and communication with nursing home staff

Common Forms of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

The most common form of nursing home abuse is neglect. Frequently nursing homes are inadequately staffed and the patients’ medical needs suffer as a result. The following are some of the more common manifestations of nursing home abuse and neglect:

  • Patient appears unkempt, including wearing dirty or inappropriate clothing and not bathing adequately
  • Lack of assistance with eating or drinking
  • Lack of personal hygiene assistance
  • Bedsores on patient as a result of failure to position the patient appropriately in bed
  • Failure to respond to call lights, buzzers or requests for help
  • Lack of assistance with walking and other movement exercises

It is also important to be on the lookout for possible financial exploitation, such as forgery of checks, refusal of patient access to funds, or misappropriation of patient’s Medicare funds.

Reporting Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

If your or someone you love is a victim of nursing home abuse, contact the Senior HelpLine (800) 252-8966 immediately. To file a complaint against a nursing home facility, call the Illinois Department of Public Health at (800) 252-4343. A Central Complaint Registry records and investigates complaints regarding hospitals, nursing facilities and home health agencies.

Once a report of abuse is made, a trained elder abuse case worker will contact the victim within 24 hours for the most dangerous situations, within 72 hours for less serious situations, or within seven days for all others situations to determine what services are necessary to stop the abuse.

Medical Malpractice Claim

If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, including medical malpractice, the skilled Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Ankin Law Offices can help you pursue your rights and seek justice. Contact us at (312) 600-0000 if you suspect that nursing home abuse or medical malpractice.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 600-0000 and howard@ankinlaw.com.