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Published On: Wed, Jan 2nd, 2019

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse: Problems that Aren’t Going Away

With so many organizations working to raise awareness about nursing home neglect and abuse, it comes as a shock to many people that it continues to happen in nursing homes far away and close to home, including four nursing homes in Champaign and Piatt counties that have recently been cited with violations, including one where a nursing and rehab facility failed to provide for the special dietary needs of a patient who ultimately died as a result.

Photo via Pixabay/Seonae Song

The decision to place loved ones in a nursing home or assisted living facility is often difficult for families to make. It often boils down to families being unable to provide adequate care for their loved ones’ increasing medical needs. It requires a great deal of trust to allow someone else to become responsible for the caretaking roles their loved ones require. When that trust is violated, it can be devastating for all parties.

How do families know if their loved ones are being neglected or abused in nursing homes?

Many patients who are victims of nursing home neglect or abuse are unable to speak up or out about what’s happening to them. Many of these patients are in advanced stages of various diseases, including dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease and cannot serve as their own advocates. The Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys of Steinberg Goodman & Kalish suggest watching for common symptoms of nursing home abuse such as broken or fractured bones, burns, sprains, changes in behavior, bruises, welts, lacerations, withdrawal of patients from others.

While not all abuse is physical, the signs of verbal and emotional abuse are sometimes more difficult to see during brief visits. Consider planning prolonged visits at different times of day and watching how patients interact with different members of staff. If patients are non-verbal it is sometimes possible to use physical reactions, like accelerated heart rates to determine if there may be something worth investigating.

Family members who suspect abuse in which their loved ones may be in imminent risk should contact the police. If the danger is not immediate or life-threatening, contact the long-term care ombudsmandepartment of public health, or the facility administrator.

Author: Jacob Maslow

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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