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Rolling Meadows Personal Injury LawyerNursing homes are supposed to provide a safe environment for people who need assistance meeting their daily needs. Unfortunately, many facilities fail to live up to this responsibility, and residents can suffer serious harm due to nursing home abuse. One issue that has become a concern for many residents and their loved ones is the improper use of sedatives, antipsychotic drugs, and other medications.

Increase in Schizophrenia Diagnoses for Nursing Home Patients

Some nursing home residents suffer from dementia, and there are certain medications that are approved to treat these conditions. Some types of antipsychotic medications may be used for these patients, but these drugs can be dangerous, leading to increased risks of infections, heart disease, falls, among other risks. These drugs have been described as “chemical straitjackets,” since they may be used to sedate patients that nursing home staff members believe are troublesome or disruptive.

To ensure that patients receive the proper treatment and that antipsychotic drugs are not overused, nursing homes are required to report the number of residents who receive these types of medications. However, there is a loophole in this requirement: nursing homes are not required to report the use of antipsychotic drugs for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome, or Huntington’s disease. Since 2012, the year the reporting requirements were put in place, the share of nursing home residents diagnosed with schizophrenia has increased by 70%. Even though schizophrenia only affects around one out of every 150 people, around one out of every nine nursing home residents has been diagnosed with this condition.

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Rolling Meadows Nursing Home Neglect AttorneyWhile nursing homes can provide much-needed care and assistance for elderly people who are unable to fully care for themselves, nursing home residents are at risk of serious harm due to abuse and neglect. Patients can suffer multiple different types of injuries because of negligence by a nursing home and its staff members. Bedsores are some of the most serious health conditions that can occur. Family members should be aware of the ways that bedsores can affect a loved one in a nursing home. By working with a personal injury attorney, they can determine whether a facility can be held responsible for these types of injuries.

Types of Bedsores

Bedsores are also referred to as pressure ulcers, and they can occur when constant pressure is placed on certain parts of the body. This can cut off blood flow, resulting in damage to the skin, as well as the underlying tissues. Nursing home residents are at risk of bedsores if they are bedridden or if they stay in the same position for extended periods of time. Bedsores can form on the areas of the body that are in constant contact with a bed or other surface, such as the hips, buttocks, shoulder blades, or heels.

Bedsores progress through different stages:

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Arlington Heights nursing home abuse lawyersNursing homes are meant to provide quality care for elderly or disabled individuals who need assistance with their daily needs. Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not live up to these obligations. Because nursing home residents are so vulnerable, they can suffer serious harm if a facility or its staff members are negligent in providing the care they need. Sadly, many residents are the victims of nursing home abuse. Family members should be sure to understand the possible types of abuse that can affect their loved one, and in cases where abuse has occurred, they will want to work with a personal injury attorney to understand their legal options.

Forms of Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse may be committed against nursing home residents by a facility’s staff members or by other residents. Some ways that a nursing home patient may be abused include:

  • Physical abuse - This may include hitting, slapping, shoving, or other actions that inflict physical pain and discomfort. Because nursing home patients are often in frail physical condition and susceptible to harm, these actions can lead to serious injuries and permanent impairment.
  • Verbal or emotional abuse - Staff members may shout at, insult, berate, harass, or intimidate patients, or they may purposely isolate them from others or ignore their requests for aid or assistance. This can cause a great deal of emotional harm to residents, leading to depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal.
  • Sexual abuse - Sadly, the vulnerability of nursing home patients may lead staff members or other residents to take advantage of them sexually, especially when patients suffer from dementia or experience other issues that make it difficult for them to tell others about what has happened to them. Sexual abuse may include forced sexual contact, taking sexually explicit pictures of a person, forcing a person to disrobe, or committing sexual harassment involving inappropriate speech or behavior.
  • Improper restraint - Staff members may use physical restraints to confine a resident to a bed or chair, and these may include strapping a person’s wrists or ankles to a bed or chair, using bed rails to prevent a person from leaving their bed, or using belts or trays to force a person to remain in a chair. Chemical restraints such as sedatives or other drugs may also be used by staff members if they believe a patient is being troublesome. Restraints should only be used when they are medically necessary, and they should not be used to restrict a resident’s freedom.
  • Financial exploitation - Caregivers or other people who are close to a nursing home resident may coerce or manipulate them into turning over their money or property or making changes to their will. In some cases, a person may commit identity theft by using a resident’s personal information to open credit cards, make purchases, or obtain loans.

Contact Our Rolling Meadows Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

If your loved one has suffered harm while residing at a nursing home, Newland & Newland, LLP can help you determine whether their injuries were the result of abuse or neglect. We will help you understand your legal options for recovering compensation, and we will work to ensure that those who caused your loved one’s injuries are held responsible for their wrongdoing. Contact our Arlington Heights nursing home injury lawyers at  847-797-8000 to set up your free consultation today.

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Rolling Meadows nursing home neglect attorneysPutting a loved one in a nursing home can be a difficult decision, and it is one that is often made out of necessity, since family members may not be able to provide the ongoing care an elderly person needs. Unfortunately, some nursing homes fail to provide the appropriate level of care, and this can cause residents to experience serious injuries due to neglect. In these cases, families will want to work with an attorney to understand who was responsible for the harm suffered by their loved one and determine how to take legal action against a negligent nursing home.

Nursing Home Neglect Injuries

Staff members at a nursing home should always be attentive to patients’ needs. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed, or they may employ staff members that are not properly trained. This can result in a lack of proper supervision of patients and a failure to address concerns that could affect residents’ health and well-being. Some common injuries that can occur because of neglect include:

  • Malnutrition or dehydration - If staff members do not ensure that patients are eating the proper food and drinking enough liquids, this can lead to a serious decline in a person’s overall health. In these cases, patients may experience weight loss, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, mental health issues, or loss of consciousness.
  • Falls - Patients who have mobility issues may need assistance getting into or out of bed or moving throughout a nursing home during their daily routines. Failure to provide help or failure to address tripping or slipping hazards in a nursing home could cause residents to fall down and suffer injuries such as broken bones, brain trauma, or damage to internal organs.
  • Bedsores - Residents who are bedridden or who spend most of their time sitting down should be moved regularly to prevent the development of sores on the parts of their body that remain in contact with beds, wheelchairs, or other surfaces. If bedsores are not addressed promptly, they can become infected and threaten a person’s overall health.
  • Lack of medical care - All of a patient’s medical needs should be attended to by nurses or other personnel with the proper training. If a patient does not receive the proper medical care, a serious condition could go undiagnosed, or they may not receive the medications necessary to maintain good health.
  • Wandering and elopement - If patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are not properly supervised, they may wander into hazardous areas of a nursing home, or they may leave the premises altogether, putting them at risk of suffering harm due to slip and fall accidents, being hit by a car, or robberies.

Contact Our Arlington Heights Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys

If your loved one has been injured as a resident at a nursing home, Newland & Newland, LLP can work with you to determine whether this occurred because of neglect or other forms of negligence. We will help you understand your legal options for holding a nursing home responsible for the harm done to your family. Contact our Schaumburg nursing home neglect lawyers today at 847-797-8000 to arrange a free consultation.

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Palatine nursing home negligence attorney

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the issue of nursing home neglect first gained widespread public attention back in the 1970s, during a time when long-term care facilities lacked much-needed regulation. Since then, incidents of elderly abuse and neglect continue to remain prevalent in nursing homes, largely due to the growing elderly demographic. Our senior populations are living longer, resulting in a greater number of people being placed in long-term care facilities. Factors such as low pay, stressful working conditions, and staff shortages sadly cause the quality of care to be compromised, creating countless incidents of injuries and neglect. 

Do You Suspect Abuse or Neglect?

Cases of abuse can be particularly difficult for a victim's family members to uncover, especially for those relatives who are unable to visit their loved ones on a regular basis. For many long-term care residents, however, their family members are their eyes and ears when it comes to their health. Whether you have the luxury of making frequent visits to your loved one’s place of residence or simply speak to him or her occasionally on the phone, if you suspect he or she is not being properly cared for, it is important to investigate further. Here are some clear signs that your family member or friend may be experiencing a form of nursing home abuse:

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