CHICAGO ELDERLY ABUSE ATTORNEYS
Elderly Abuse Attorney in Chicago
Unfortunately, Chicago nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect and elder abuse are all too common, and the number of reported nursing home abuse cases are probably only a small fraction of the actual number of instances. The elderly are easier targets for abuse because of their declining health and mental states. Nursing home patients often suffer from ailments such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, that may cause memory loss and subsequently be taken advantage of. They may also have an increased need of attachment, even if this means clinging to an abusive caregiver. Because these abuse and neglect cases are so sensitive, it’s important to hire one of our Chicago elderly abuse attorneys for your case.
Abuse in nursing facilities and assisted living facilities often goes unreported as a result of mental or physical inabilities, as well as embarrassment or shame about the abuse. Whether the abuse is intentional or not, if you suspect an elderly family member is suffering due to nursing home negligence or abuse, it’s your duty to report it.
A Chicago nursing home abuse attorney at Curcio Law Offices is here to help you defend your loved one and get them the compensation and care they deserve. Call our office today at 312-321-1111 to schedule your free consultation.
What Is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse refers to a single or repeated act that causes harm or distress to an older person, typically nursing home residents. It can also be a single or repeated lack of appropriate action that causes the same outcome. In both elder abuse cases and neglect cases, a relationship and expectation of trust exists between the elder and the offender.
Elder and nursing home abuse is widely acknowledged as a growing and severe problem in our culture. Unfortunately, determining the magnitude of this problem is difficult because of underreporting, differences in the definition of neglect and abuse, and the lack of a countrywide consistent system for reporting abuse.
The National Center on Elder Abuse identifies seven forms of elder or nursing home abuse. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, abandonment, and elder neglect are all examples of elderly abuse. If you suspect elder abuse, call a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney right away.
Types of Elder and Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse can be classified in a variety of ways, each with varying degrees of severity. Our elder abuse attorneys can help you recognize the signs of abuse.
However, seven different forms of nursing home abuse exist:
- Physical abuse: When someone hits, pushes, or slaps another person, they are committing assault. It might also mean restricting nursing home residents against their will, such as shutting them in a room or tying them to furniture.
- Sexual abuse: This involves caregivers forcing the older adult to take part in or observe sexual acts.
- Emotional abuse: We also refer to this as mental or psychological abuse. It can include caregivers or nursing home staff members saying hurtful words, threats, yelling, or even ignoring the elder. Also, if caregivers keep them from seeing their friends at the assisted living or nursing home facility, that is emotional or mental abuse.
- Financial abuse: When an older adult’s money or things are taken, this is considered elder financial abuse. Forging checks, stealing someone else’s retirement or Social Security benefits, or using someone else’s credit card/bank accounts without their consent are all examples of this abuse. It also involves altering names without authorization on a will, bank account, life insurance policy, or property title.
- Neglect: Nursing home neglect happens when a caregiver fails to react to the needs of an elderly person. This might involve denying physical, emotional, or social requirements, as well as withholding food, medicine, medical treatment or health care access. Lack of adequate care for elderly residents can lead to bed sores and potentially life threatening injuries from nursing home falls.
- Abandonment: This involves leaving the older adult alone without help and without planning for proper care.
- Self-neglect: This involves behaviors of the older adult which threaten their safety or health.
What Are the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse or Nursing Home Neglect?
Elder abuse can take various forms, making it difficult to detect. Personal injuries, physical harm, unfavorable behavioral changes, and inexplicable transactions are all common indications of elder or nursing home abuse. Families can better protect their loved ones by knowing about all of the warning signs of elderly abuse, as well as frequently visiting the nursing home facility to ensure the premises is up to par.
Strange and unexpected changes in an older loved one’s mental, physical, or financial well-being are the most prevalent warning indicators of elderly abuse. The indications of nursing home abuse differ based on the sort of elderly abuse that occurred.
General signs and symptoms include:
- Cuts, bruises, broken bones, or other injuries
- Weight loss or malnourishment
- Poor hygiene
- Anxiety, depression, or confusion
- Loss of money and unexplained purchases or transactions
- Withdrawing from friends and family
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Broken bones
- Cuts or scrapes
- Concussions and other head injuries
- Sores or pressure marks
In situations of personal injury, loved ones should check on their elderly relatives on a regular basis and exercise their best judgment. To cover up nursing home abuse, caregivers or nursing home staff members may pretend that something else caused the injury to the nursing home resident.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Hesitations to speak freely
- Withdrawal or isolation from others
- Explaining injuries in ways that are implausible
- Anxiety, depression, anger, or fear
Family members should be aware of a senior’s emotional well-being when they become Illinois nursing home residents. Mental abuse might be the cause, if the elder’s happiness and overall mood deteriorate in a worrying way.
Signs of Financial Abuse
- Large amounts of money missing from bank accounts
- The elder does not have access to their financial records
- Providing gifts or money in exchange for company
- Unexplainable transactions or purchases
If feasible, have a trustworthy financial expert or family member monitor the elderly person’s accounts and inquire about any suspicious activity. If the senior is unable to explain the disappearance of cash, they may be the victim of financial exploitation, as this is commonplace in Illinois nursing homes.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Unexplained sexually transmitted disease diagnosis
- Bruises around the genitals or thighs
- Irritation, pain, or bleeding of the genitals
- Inappropriate relations between the elder and their caregiver
To keep their parents, grandparents, or other older relatives safe, family members should confront any suspected incidents of sexual abuse as soon as possible. Our nursing home abuse lawyers can help you determine the best course of action for your loved one during your free consultation.
Signs of Neglect
- Pressure ulcers or bedsores
- Caregivers leaving the elder in bed for long periods of time without care or supervision
- A lack of food, water, or basic hygiene
- Missing medical equipment or mobility aids, like dentures, walkers, glasses, medicine, or hearing aids
- Unsafe or dirty living conditions, including a lack of plumbing, lack of heat, unclean bedding, or bugs
Nursing Home Abuse vs Neglect
While the indications of nursing home abuse and neglect are similar, the latter is typically caused by a lack of care rather than malicious intent. However, neglect may be just as detrimental to the health of an older loved one, especially if the illness goes untreated for months, as they commonly do in Illinois nursing home facilities.
Risk Factors for Elderly Abuse
While anybody over the age of 65 can be abused or neglected, some are at a higher risk than others. The following are some of the risk factors for elderly abuse:
- Age: According to a 2014 medical study by Northwestern University and Rush University researchers, those over the age of 80 are more likely to be neglect victims, or victims of medical malpractice or abuse.
- Caregiver: If a caregiver lives with the elder adult, depends on them financially, uses and abuses drugs, or has a criminal record, they are more likely to commit abuse.
- Gender: Women were more likely to be victims of elder and nursing home abuse, according to a 2014 Chicago research study. According to the World Health Organization, women may also be subjected to more severe forms of abuse over longer periods of time.
- Health: Poor physical and mental health issues, such as dementia, fall into this category. According to the NCOA (National Council on Aging), around 50% of dementia sufferers endure nursing home abuse or neglect.
- Isolation: According to a report from the DHS (Department of Health and Human Services), around 13 million older individuals lived alone in the U.S. in 2015. Those who live alone or withdraw from others might be more at risk of suffering abuse.
How to Report Elder Abuse in Illinois?
If your loved one is in immediate danger, always call the police. Please inform someone if the risk is not urgent, but you think abuse has occurred or is occurring. Contact the local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or police about your concerns.
In Illinois, we have a statewide, 24-hour Adult Protective Services Hotline. Call 1-866-800-1409 or 1-888-206-1327 to report abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. If you live in a nursing home and suffered abuse, call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Nursing Home Complaint Hotline at 1-800-252-4343.
Include the following information in your report:
- Victim’s name, address, phone number, sex, age, and condition
- Alleged abuser’s name, age, sex, and relationship to the abused
- Circumstances that led you to believe that abuse occurred
- Whether there is immediate danger to the elder adult, or to the case worker going to investigate
- Whether or not the victim is able to make a report themselves
- Name, phone number, and profession of the abuse reporter
- Names of other individuals with information about the incident
- Other relevant information
How to Prevent Elder Abuse
There are several elements that might enhance or lessen the likelihood of elder abuse perpetration and/or victimization. To prevent elder abuse, we must first identify and address the variables that put people at danger of violence, as well as the elements that protect them from it.
Below, we list the ways in which a concerned family member can help prevent nursing home abuse:
- Listening to older adults and caregivers in order to understand the challenges of each, then providing support
- If you suspect nursing home abuse, report it to the appropriate authorities
- Educate yourself and others about the signs of elder abuse, as well as how to report it
- Read up on the signs of nursing home neglect and abuse versus the signs of a natural aging process
- Check on elder adults who might have few or no friends or family members
- Provide support for caregivers who are overburdened
- Encourage those with drug or alcohol problems to get help
If your loved one suffered from an emotional or personal injury during their stay at a nursing home or assisted living facility, you have legal options. Our nursing home abuse lawyers can recommend a plan of action during your free consultation.
Experienced Chicago Elder Abuse Lawyers
If you suspect that a friend or loved one is a victim of elder or nursing home abuse, it’s important to take legal action to protect his or her rights. Choosing a Chicago elderly abuse attorney that can best represent them is crucial to ensuring they receive fair compensation and have the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us today at 312-321-1111 or contact us online to schedule an initial free consultation with one of our experienced abuse lawyers. All confidential or sensitive information will remain privileged under the attorney client relationship. By filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses due to the claim. Abuse and neglect should never occur, and it’s important the Chicago nursing home facilities are held accountable.