No one wants to think that his or her loved one is receiving anything less than excellent care while in an Illinois nursing home. Unfortunately, a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney knows that even in situations where families feel a loved one is receiving the best care available, abuse may occur. Federal monitoring surveys conducted in 2008, and published by the U.S. General Accountability Office, state that 15 percent of the state surveys fail to report situations that present clear threats of immediate danger to nursing home residents.
Warning signs of mistreatment
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse or abuse of the disabled may be categorized under several headings. Some indications of mistreatment may be visible, while others may manifest through a change in behavior. Areas of concern include the following:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Psychological or emotional distress
- Suspicious financial activity
- Neglect and the appearance of self-neglect
Indications to report to authorities and to a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney may be signs of dehydration, medical reports of insufficient or excessive levels of medication, restricted access to a loved one, and direct verbal communication from the loved one that abuse has occurred. Physical evidence of abuse may show up in the form of bruises, punctures or burns, as well as head or body lice, a strong smell of fecal matter or urine, and inadequate clothing.
Decreased quality of life
People who are victims of mistreatment in nursing facilities tend to suffer disproportionately from other health conditions as well. Additional problems that may be exacerbated by abuse include high blood pressure, digestive problems, anxiety, and depression. Neglect or mistreatment may have a significantly deteriorating effect on the overall health of a loved one in a nursing facility that is ostensibly designed to provide care and support.
Act sooner rather than later
The decision to admit a loved one to a nursing facility is not a choice that most family members take lightly. Often the action is taken due to the declining state of the elder individual. The prospect of abuse is particularly distressing due to the fact that the facility is specifically in place to care for its residents, and is, in fact, legally required to do so. When a nursing home fails in this responsibility, the first step is to contact the proper authorities. A Chicago nursing home abuse attorney may also be able to help families take appropriate action.