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illinois nursing home abuse lawyerFor many elderly people, nursing homes provide the best solution to ensure that they will receive the medical care and assistance they need. When placing a loved one in a nursing home, a family should have the assurance that the person’s needs will be met and that they will be safe from harm. Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not live up to these expectations, and patients may suffer serious physical and emotional injuries because of abuse by staff members or other residents. Families who are concerned about the possibility of nursing home abuse will want to understand the signs that may indicate that their loved one has been the victim of these types of harmful behavior.

Signs of Physical, Verbal, or Sexual Abuse

Physical abuse of nursing home residents can take many forms. Staff members may strike or shove a resident they believe is uncooperative or difficult or even restrain a resident to a bed or chair. Signs that a person has suffered physical abuse include serious injuries such as broken bones or brain trauma, as well as unexplained bruises, cuts, or scratches. Rope marks on a person’s wrists or ankles may indicate that they have been improperly restrained, or bedsores or hygiene issues may show that they have been confined to a bed or chair or restricted from moving about freely.

While verbal and emotional abuse may not be as obvious as physical abuse, these forms of abuse can also be very harmful. Staff members may yell at, berate, or threaten a person or isolate them socially, disallowing them from interacting with others or participating in gatherings and activities. Signs of emotional abuse include agitation, anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, or other unexplained changes in a person’s behavior. A victim may also lack interest in activities they had previously enjoyed, act fearful around certain staff members, or experience suicidal thoughts.

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DuPage County nursing home negligence attorneyWhen someone reaches an advanced age and is no longer able to care for themselves, a nursing home or assisted living facility is often the best solution for a family. These facilities ensure that our elderly or disabled loved ones receive the medical care they need, as well as providing them with the proper nutrition, physical exercise, and social interaction. However, patients in nursing homes are in a vulnerable position, and sadly, cases of nursing home abuse or neglect, including sexual abuse, are all too common. If you suspect that your family member has been sexually abused while in the care of a nursing facility, you should be sure to understand your legal options.

Elder Abuse Statistics

The elderly population in the United States has increased significantly in recent years, due to the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age. As the number of seniors increase, so does the prevalence of elder abuse. It is estimated that around five million seniors are abused each year, and 10% of all elders have experienced some form of abuse. Unfortunately, only one in every 14 cases of abuse are reported.

While all forms of elder abuse are serious, sexual abuse is particularly shocking, yet it is frighteningly common. A 2017 investigation by CNN found that more than 16,000 complaints of sexual abuse were reported in nursing homes across the United States since 2000. In Illinois alone, 386 instances of sexual abuse were reported between 2013 and 2017, and 201 of these cases involved abuse by a caretaker such as a nursing home staff member. CNN also found that between 2013 and 2016, over 1,000 nursing homes were cited by the federal government for failing to prevent sexual abuse or for mishandling reports of abuse, and almost 100 facilities were cited multiple times.

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