With Baby Boomers, the largest generation in the US, fastly becoming one of the oldest generations in the US, facilities dedicated to the care of the aged and elderly are more and more becoming inundated with patients and residents entrusted to them by family and caregivers expecting that their loved ones will not only be cared for in a safe and clean environment, but also nurtured.
Sadly, with more and more nursing homes, care and nurturing is replaced by abuse and neglect, leaving helpless patients harmed or worse. Along with federal laws to protect the rights of nursing home patients, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act establishes rights of the residents of these facilities along with the responsibilities of the professionals charged with their care. Under the Act, longtime care facilities like nursing homes must respect and protect residents' rights to: personal freedoms and property, safety, care by their own physicians, freedom from restraints, religious freedoms, access to visitors, calls and emails and a host of other freedoms we all take for granted.
If a long-term facility, rather a representative thereof, neglects a resident or otherwise violates the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act by harming or abusing a resident under its care, the breach of the Act and their lawful responsibly may entitle the patient or their surviving loved one to substantial damages.
Elder abuse, whether physical, mental, or sexual, constitutes an egregious breach of this statute and may result in a variety of awards from medical care to pain and suffering to punitive damages. Often times, the loved one is reluctant to admit the abuse or neglect for fear of reprisal. In addition to close communication with the resident in question, it's also important that conditions surrounding the resident and their behavior be assiduously observed to detect possible abuse or neglect.
Warning signs abound in these cases. Things like sudden weight loss can be an indication of malnourishment, for instance. Frequent bruises, cuts and abrasions, or broken bones may be a sign of serious neglect or abuse. Lethargy may be a sign of over-medication. And a sudden change in behavior or temperament can be a tell-tale sign something is wrong as well.
If elder abuse or neglect is suspected in a long-term care facility arrangement, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and the responsibilities of the caregivers in these cases and can advise on the proper course of action you should take. Panio Law Office attorneys are well experienced in nursing home abuse cases. We understand the applicable state and federal statutes at work in these cases and can help you file a claim should your loved one fall victim to a violation of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.
If you have questions about a possible nursing home abuse case, please call us at (312) 313-0305. We can help.