Peoria Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Compassionate Legal Representation for Nursing Home Abuse Victims
Nursing home abuse is a heartbreaking reality for many families across the country. Nursing home residents may experience multiple types of abuse or mistreatment at the hands of nursing home staff or other residents. In many cases, these incidents occur because of negligence by nursing home owners and managers, including failure to perform background checks on staff members or failure to ensure that facilities are properly staffed. Nursing home abuse can lead to multiple types of serious physical injuries, as well as emotional trauma that may have long-term effects on elderly and vulnerable individuals.
If you suspect that your loved one has suffered abuse as a resident of a nursing home, you will want to do everything possible to address this issue, prevent further abuse from taking place, and ensure that your family can achieve justice for the harm you have suffered. In these situations, it is important to seek legal help right away and determine your options for holding a negligent nursing home responsible for failing to protect your loved one’s safety, health, and well-being. At the Nursing Home Injury Center, we can help investigate claims of nursing home abuse, and we are fully prepared to work with families to ensure that their loved ones’ rights and interests are protected.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Unfortunately, nursing home residents are often vulnerable to abuse by those who wish to take advantage of them or otherwise cause them harm. Elderly or disabled patients often experience unstable health conditions, or they may experience mobility issues that keep them confined to beds or wheelchairs. Because of this, they may be physically unable to prevent abusers from harming them. They may also suffer from dementia or other issues that limit their ability to communicate with others, and this may cause them to be unable to report abuse they have experienced. Abuse victims may also be fearful about telling their families or others about what they have experienced, since they may believe that this will lead their abusers to inflict further harm.
Nursing home abuse can come in multiple different forms, including:
- Sexual abuse – As unthinkable as it may seem, elderly or disabled nursing home residents may be targeted for sexual assault, sexual exploitation, or other forms of sexual abuse precisely because they are vulnerable and may be unable to tell others about these experiences. Sexual abuse may consist of forced intercourse, inappropriate touching or other forms of sexual contact, or sexual humiliation of a person. Victims may suffer abuse at the hands of staff members, other residents, or anyone else who has access to a nursing home.
- Physical abuse – In nursing homes, staff members or other residents may use physical force to cause bodily harm to a resident. This includes hitting, punching, kicking, shoving, or otherwise causing intentional physical injury. This may be done out of an intent to cause harm or because a person is believed to be troublesome or uncooperative.
- Verbal abuse – Nursing home staff members may use harsh words, abusive language, or verbal threats to cause harm to a nursing home resident. This type of abuse may be used as a threat or as an attempt to belittle, humiliate, or otherwise cause distress to nursing home patients.
- Emotional abuse – This is one of the most difficult forms of nursing home abuse to spot, since victims may not display any physical signs of injury. However, emotional abuse can still cause significant harm to nursing home residents. This type of abuse may involve insults, intimidation tactics, social isolation, or other attempts at psychological manipulation that are designed to control a nursing home resident’s behavior or cause them to suffer mental trauma.
- Financial exploitation – Nursing home staff or other individuals may use deception, coercion, or threats to persuade nursing home residents to turn over funds or assets that belong to them. This form of abuse can leave victims without financial resources, and they may feel powerless to seek help.
- Unreasonable restraint – Staff members may use inappropriate measures to keep patients confined to their rooms or other locations, prevent them from wandering, or keep them from behaving in ways that are difficult to deal with. This form of abuse may include physical restraint, such as by locking a patient in their room or refusing to help them get out of bed. Chemical restraint may also be used to control patients, and this may consist of the use of drugs to keep patients sedated or limit their ability to move about or respond to others.
Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is a serious and pervasive problem that can have a devastating impact on nursing home residents. Victims of nursing home abuse may suffer from physical injuries such as broken bones, bruises, cuts, scrapes, burns, or other trauma. In addition to these physical forms of harm, nursing home residents may also experience severe mental and emotional anguish due to being subjected to mistreatment. They may feel isolated and helpless in their situation, and they may be afraid to report the incidents due to fear that they will suffer retaliation or other harm from their abuser.
Families should be aware that abuse and other forms of negligence can lead to serious injuries for loved ones who are residing in these facilities. As such, it is important to recognize potential signs of abuse, which may include:
- Unexplained injuries such as cuts, scratches, or bruises. While some injuries may seem minor, they can develop into more serious health issues, especially if a resident is hesitant to report them or seek treatment.
- Serious injuries due to nursing home falls or other issues that may have been caused by physical abuse. For example, an abusive staff member may push or hit a resident, causing them to fall and suffer broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, or other forms of bodily harm.
- Sexually transmitted diseases or other indications of sexual abuse. In some cases, abuse victims may have unexplained bruising in the genital area, they may have torn or bloody underwear, or they may experience other forms of genital or urinary tract irritation. People who suffer from dementia or who struggle to communicate verbally with others may demonstrate signs that they have been abused, such as anxiety, depression, agitation, panic attacks, or inappropriate sexual behavior.
- Sudden changes in behavior, such as unexplained agitation, fear, or withdrawal. In some cases, a person may experience fear when in the presence of a certain staff member, but they may be unwilling to discuss why they feel this way. A person may also withdraw from social activities and refuse to interact with others because they have experienced emotional abuse or purposeful public humiliation at the hands of staff members.
- Isolation from family and friends. An abuse victim may purposely avoid communicating with loved ones out of fear that they will suffer further abuse from a staff member who is in a position of control over their daily life. In some cases, staff members may refuse to allow a patient to be alone with family members, or they may otherwise prevent a person from contacting their loved ones and discussing the abuse they have experienced.
- Absence of necessary medical care despite knowledge by nursing home staff of a patient’s condition and needs. This may indicate that one or more staff members are purposely withholding necessary treatment or are discouraging a resident from reporting injuries or other physical issues. Failure or refusal to provide medical care when necessary may cause a person’s existing health issues to become worse, or it may lead to other complications that could threaten the resident’s health and well-being or even lead to their wrongful death.
- Unexplained financial losses or discrepancies. This may be an indication that a staff member has manipulated a person into giving them access to their financial accounts or otherwise transferring money.
- Signs of physical or chemical restraint. These may include chafing on the wrists or ankles in cases where a person has been tied to a bed or otherwise physically restrained, as well as excessive fatigue or an inability to communicate correctly, which may indicate that a person has been sedated through the inappropriate use of medications.
- Lack of proper medical or personal care. In many cases, nursing home abuse goes hand in hand with nursing home neglect. Along with other abusive behavior, staff members may refuse to provide a person with the proper care. They may fail to ensure that a person is moved regularly, which can lead to injuries such as bedsores, or they may not take the proper measures to provide the necessary food and water, leading to issues such as malnutrition and dehydration.
Taking Steps to Address Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, it is important to take immediate action. By thoroughly investigating the situation to determine whether abuse has occurred, notifying a nursing home of these issues so that the proper steps can be taken to prevent any further abuse, and ensuring that abusers are held responsible for wrongdoing, you can not only protect the health and safety of your loved one, but you can help ensure that others will not be affected by these issues.
At the Nursing Home Injury Center, we can help you understand your legal options in these situations, and we will help you take fast, effective action to address abuse, neglect, and related issues that may affect nursing home residents. We will work with you to make sure a nursing home that allowed your loved one to suffer harm is held responsible for this negligence. To arrange a free consultation and get the assistance you need, contact us by calling 309-524-6900.