As the American population ages, more and more senior citizens are living in nursing homes in Illinois and throughout the country. While 13 percent of the population was age 65 or older in 2010, by 2050 this number is expected to rise to 20 percent, and the number of Americans age 85 or older is expected to more than triple over this same time period.
So, what does this mean for life in nursing homes? While we can’t say for sure, what we do know is that many Illinois nursing homes are already understaffed, and many nursing home residents already are not receiving safe and compassionate care. Hence, as more senior citizens transition into nursing homes, won’t the situation just get worse? Unfortunately, only time will tell.
The Hard Facts about Nursing Home Care
In some respects, it is hard to imagine how things could get much worse. Studies already suggest that a third of all nursing homes are cited for federal safety violations every two years, with one in 10 homes being cited for violations that resulted in serious injury or jeopardy of death. Ten percent of all nursing home residents report being abused in the prior year (44 percent overall), and 95 percent report either experiencing or witnessing nursing home neglect.
All of this is to say that, if you or your loved one experiences wrongful or inappropriate care in a nursing home: (i) you are not alone, (ii) the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better, and (iii) to stop the abuse, you need to take action now.
What Constitutes Wrongful or Inappropriate Care?
In nursing homes, there are two primary forms of wrongful and inappropriate care: negligence and abuse.
Negligence refers to caregivers and administrators’ failure to meet the standard of care that all nursing homes in Illinois owe to their patients. For example, nursing homes are responsible for ensuring that their residents receive their medications on time. So, if a nurse confuses patients or mixes up pill bottles, and a resident doesn’t get the medication he or she needs, this would be considered negligence.
On the other hand, abuse involves intentionally causing physical, psychological, or emotional harm to a resident. While this sounds unthinkable to most of us, as noted above, it happens with alarming frequency. Some common examples of nursing home abuse include withholding food and medication from residents, verbal belittling, and sexual harassment.
In addition to general forms of negligence and abuse, nursing homes are also required to attend to their residents’ individualized needs. For example, if a patient requires a special diet or is immobile and needs frequent repositioning, the nursing home’s failure to meet these needs constitutes wrongful and inappropriate care.
Wrongful Care Resulting in Illness or Injury
Victims of wrongful care in nursing homes often suffer from serious illnesses and injuries. While it can be difficult to know for certain whether a medical condition is the result of negligence or abuse, there are some tell-tale signs that residents and their families can watch for. However, if you even suspect wrongful care, we urge you to speak with one of our attorneys right away.
Some injuries simply should not occur in the nursing home setting in the absence of wrongful care. For example, if you or your loved one is suffering from any of the following conditions in a nursing home, there is a strong chance that wrongful care is to blame:
- Sexually-transmitted disease or genital injury
- Symptoms associated with medication errors
- Unexplained injuries
Wrongful Care Resulting in Death
In the worst cases, wrongful care in nursing homes results in death. While reliable numbers are hard to come by, it is widely acknowledged that thousands of nursing home residents die every year from illnesses and injuries that could have been avoided with appropriate care. Bedsores, malnutrition, sepsis, choking, and other treatable conditions can all be fatal without adequate attention. If you have suddenly or unexpectedly lost a loved one who was living in a nursing home, our attorneys can help you find out what happened and pursue just compensation on your behalf.
Contact a Chicago, IL Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse Lawyer Today
Nursing homes have to be held accountable for providing wrongful or inappropriate care. At Malman Law, we consider this our duty and have the track record to prove it, having helped thousands of clients recover millions of dollars in compensation for nursing home negligence and abuse. To find out more about your legal rights, we invite you to schedule a free consultation today.