Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Featured: Attorney Uche secures $1.18 million against Chicago police for wrongful death. 

Nursing home abuse sounds contradictory – you would expect an establishment created specifically to provide care and love to be above such ugliness. The unfortunate truth, however, is that many nursing homes are not.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the rate of elder abuse is very high in nursing homes and long term health facilities. The WHO statistics indicate that 2 out of 3 staff members reported that they have abused at least one elder in the past year. 

When a family decides to put their elderly loved one in a nursing home or long term health care facility, it is usually because they do not have the facility or the skill to do so by themselves. 

Thus, when they commit their elders into the hands of the management and staff of nursing homes, they do so with the trust that they will keep their loved ones safe, comfortable and well-taken care of. 

As a result, it can be disheartening when elderly loved ones are neglected, mistreated or abused by the people meant to protect them. Such neglect, mistreatment or abuse is certainly a betrayal of trust – a dealing in bad faith on the part of the management and staff of the nursing home.

At Uche P.C., we understand the feelings of hurt and betrayal you may be feeling after your elderly loved one was exposed to elder abuse. We understand why you want to hold them responsible for the hurt they have caused your mom, dad, uncle, aunt, grandparent or any other loved one and we are here to help you. 

Having dealt in bad faith, the nursing home should be accountable for their actions and that of their employees. Our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers will help you hold them to account and recover the compensation you and your loved ones deserve for the pain you have gone through. 

Our dedication and passion for advocacy has seen us successfully try over five hundred cases to verdict, spanning multiple legal specialties, including personal injury and nursing home abuse and neglect cases. With just a phone call to Uche P.C. at 312-380-5341, you can schedule a free and confidential consultation so we can help you achieve justice for your loved one. 

What is nursing home abuse?

In most cases, an elderly one is admitted into a nursing home because the elderly loved one is vulnerable to injury if left alone. Due to this vulnerability, and the institutional setting of nursing homes, it is possible for the elder’s dignity and basic rights to be impugned upon. 

Nursing home abuse is any type of harm that elderly residents suffer in long-term care facilities and nursing homes. Any treatment that results in the infringement upon any of the rights mentioned above will constitute nursing home neglect or abuse.

According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center over 13% of all Americans are over the age of sixty-five. Of this number, one in six suffered one form of abuse or the other while in a community setting between 2017 and 2018. 

While nursing home abuse or neglect can occur in different ways, its outcome is usually the same – causing severe and sometimes permanent injuries to its victims. To prevent this, some federal laws were put in place and they are:

  • Title XX of the Social Security Act: It is a program set up to provide federal funds to states so that they can provide community-based health care for the elderly and disabled. It does this through the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). The program also funds efforts aimed at preventing abuse and neglect of nursing home residents.
  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: The program began in 1972 and it assists nursing home residents and their families resolve issues associated with long-term care. Each state has an Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman which investigates complaints about nursing home abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
  • The Nursing Home Reform Act: Signed into law in 1987, the Act helps ensure that nursing home residents are not abused. Because of this Act, residents of nursing homes benefit from the “Residents Bill of Rights”. These rights include:
    • The right to be free from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect;
    • The right to be free from physical restraints;
    • The right to privacy;
    • The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs;
    • The right to participate in resident and family groups;
    • The right to be treated with dignity;
    • The right to exercise self-determination;
    • The right to communicate freely;
    • The right to participate in the formulation and review of one’s care plan, and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status in the facility; and
    • The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal.

These laws rely on states for implementation and oversight. Also, while these laws are federal laws and mostly guidelines, states also have laws that implement these guidelines and act to protect nursing home residents from abuse. 

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides rights for all nursing home residents. A few are outlined below:

  • The right to vote and speak freely while you are in the nursing home
  • The right to practice your religion. 
  • The right to stay in the same room with your spouse unless the facility does not have sufficient space or your physician advises against it
  • The right to unobstructed private contact by mail, telephone, or visitation. You can only be restricted from this if so ordered by your physician to protect you or other residents from harm.
  • The nursing home cannot demand that you work
  • The right to be free from abuse or neglect. Moreover, if you do suffer neglect and/or abuse, the facility head is obligated to report to your family or guardian and also the Illinois department of health
  • The right to privacy in your room, medical and personal care program.
  • You have the right to manage your finances yourself
  • You cannot be forced to wear an identification bracelet
  • You and your spouse must be informed about spousal impoverishment rights when you are admitted. 

The spousal impoverishment plan allows Medicaid to cover the nursing home expense of one spouse and allow a spouse living in the community to keep $2,739 in monthly income and $109,560 in assets. 

Causes of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse or neglect can be caused by several reasons, many of them stemming from problems with the staff of the nursing homes or the corporate entities running them. Common causes include the following:

  • Understaffed facilities: Running a nursing home understaffed places a great strain on the staff employed, causing them to burnout. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the fewer caregivers a home has on its staff, the lower the standard of care its residents will get. 
  • Burnout: Dealing with elderly residents can be taxing and doing so while having insufficient hands can be a recipe for disaster. Because of the long hours the situation would demand and its accompanying pressure, staff may take out their frustrations on residents, thus leading to abuse or neglect.
  • Improperly trained and inexperienced staff: Caring for the elderly requires appropriate and sufficient training. Employing untrained, improperly trained or inexperienced staff and not taking the time to train them could result in inadvertent abuse of residents.
  • Poor supervision of staff, management and accountability: This can cause staff to be inattentive to residents and leave them unattended for long periods.
  • Underpaid staff: Underpaying staff creates undervalued staff who do not feel motivated to go above and beyond the call of their duty. Thus, nursing home residents are handled with the barest hint of empathy and compassion when they are being cared for.
  • Nursing home staff with criminal records or history of abuse and other issues: Improper screening of staff before employment could cause a person with past criminal background, a history or abuse or other issues to be employed. Similarly, not carrying out periodic checks on the welfare of caregivers could allow a caregiver with coping problems to remain on staff, thus putting nursing home residents in danger. 

Residents At Higher Risk Of Nursing Home Abuse

All residents are at risk of nursing home abuse or neglect. However, some residents are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect than others. 

Residents who are perceived as being needier, requiring more time to care for or having special circumstances are more vulnerable to abuse. Some of the reasons why a resident can be open to abuse are outlined below.

  • Cognitive Illnesses: It can be more demanding caring for residents with cognitive illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia because the disorders make it difficult to communicate with them. 
  • Mental Illness: Residents who have suffered past traumas or who have depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder may be more susceptible to both being neglected and abused.
  • Physical Disabilities: A resident with physical disabilities is more challenging to the staff of nursing homes as they need much more specialised care. This can give rise to feelings of frustration in caregivers especially when the said caregiver is grappling with personal issues or lacks the training or manpower.
  • Wealthy residents: When a nursing home caregiver is motivated by greed, he or she could target residents who are known to be wealthy or have access to wealth, thus abusing them financially.
  • Gender: Women are more vulnerable to abuse in nursing homes than men. This is because women are commonly and wrongfully perceived to be easier targets. Also, because they live longer, women are statistically more likely than men to reside in nursing homes.
  • Having Additional Needs: Residents with additional needs that go above and beyond the average resident are more likely to face different forms of neglect or abuse over time.

Types of nursing home abuse or neglect

The following are the types of nursing home abuse a resident can fall victim to:

  • Physical Abuse e.g assault and battery
  • Sexual abuse, when the older person is unable to understand or unwilling, or is threatened or physically forced
  • Confinement, unnecessary physical restraint or isolation of an older person
  • Passive neglect
  • Negligent or willful deprivation of medical care, food, water, physical assistance or other necessities
  • Financial exploitation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Abandonment 

Signs of nursing home abuse or neglect

Some of the signs of nursing home abuse are:

  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Staff refusing access or delaying visitors who come to see a resident
  • Staff not allowing a resident to be alone with a visitor
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains or fractures
  • Bedsores, pressure sores or frozen joints
  • Frequent venereal disease or genital infections
  • Loss of resident’s possessions
  • Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, or changes in banking practices
  • Sudden changes in Will or other financial documents
  • Sudden changes in behavior such as mood swings, outbursts, reclusiveness or withdrawn behaviour
  • Unusual or unexplained bruising, cuts, punctures, skin tears
  • Unexplained broken bones or fractures
  • Sudden weight loss and changes in appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of cleanliness

What to do when you suspect your loved one of being abused or neglected in a nursing home

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), together with several other departments in Illinois accept and investigate reports of nursing home abuse or neglect. 

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in the nursing home where he or she is admitted, you should file a report with the IDPH. The IDPH will receive the report and investigate the matter. You should also hire a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. 

He or she will be an advocate for you throughout the entire process. He or she will also guide you through the process and ensure that you do not miss a step, thus helping you bring the responsible party to book.

You can also file a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit. This comes in various forms such as: a personal injury claim, medical malpractice lawsuit, and in the event of a death, a wrongful death lawsuit.

At Uche P.C., we will work with you to prove that your loved one suffered abuse, neglect and injury while admitted in the nursing home. Some of the elements we will work to prove include:

  • Proving that the staff of the nursing home owed you or your loved one a duty of care.
  • Proving that the nursing home breached their duty of care to you and/or your loved one. 
  • Proving that you or your loved one suffered injuries as a result of the breach of duty and that the injuries might not have existed if the abuse or neglect did not happen.

What compensation should you expect from your nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit?

The compensation to expect in a Chicago nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit are categorised into economic and non-economic compensation. They include:

  • Covering for all expenses related to the abuse
  • Compensation for pain and suffering 
  • Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life 
  • The total cost of staying in the nursing home
  • Relocation expenses if necessary
  • Possible punitive damages against those responsible for the abuse

Let us help you with your nursing home abuse lawsuit

At Uche P.C., we are dedicated and passionate about advocating for your rights. 

We know the feelings of outrage that can accompany incidents where your rights or those of your loved ones are breached. Hence, we advocate for you aggressively with a passion born out of understanding. 

We have served clients in the Chicago area for years, ensuring that they receive justice. 

We take on clients on a contingency basis. This means that we will not collect any payment unless we win your case for you. Reach out to us today through our contact page or call us on 312-380-5341 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Beyond focusing on nursing home abuse cases, our firm also focuses on other forms of personal injury such as:

Call us immediately at: (312) 380.5341, if you or your loved one has suffered any injury as a result of a motor accident!

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Where We Are

Tel:              312.380.5341

Fax:             312.854.8001

Email:        nenye.uche@uchelitigation.com

Address:   314 N. Loomis St. Ste G2,                                    Chicago, IL 60607
Business Hours: 24/7

Uche P.C.

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