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Illinois nursing home issues that warrant further investigation

If you're the adult child of an aging parent who is no longer able to live independently, you may have concerns about Illinois nursing homes and how to recognize a high-quality care environment. Since you will not be present 24/7, it's understandable that you want to feel confident that the licensed facility to whom you are entrusting your loved one's care will provide a nurturing atmosphere and care that aligns with all state regulations and accepted safety standards.

There's no guarantee that one nursing home is just as good as the next; in fact, many face citations, fines and even complete shutdowns following disturbing incidents that cause injury, and in some cases, death to residents. There are numerous issues that might alert you to a possible negligence or abuse problem. It's good to be aware of such signs and also to know where to seek support if you suspect your loved one is not safe.

Types of abuse and signs that should cause concern

When you think about your loved one's well-being as he or she resides in an Illinois nursing home, consider not only his or her physical health but his or her emotional and financial condition as well. The following list provides information about nursing home negligence and abuse as well as red flag signals that suggest a serious problem might be at hand:

  • Many nursing home residents suffer from various levels of mental health decline, which makes them vulnerable to financial exploitation. Elder law attorneys often handle cases that involve financial fraud against nursing home patients.
  • Abuse often occurs in emotional form. Such abuse often includes verbal threats, belittling or degrading comments, isolation or ignoring a patient, as well as terrorizing or menacing behavior toward a resident.
  • Physical abuse can cause serious, even life-threatening, injuries to nursing home patients.
  • Neglect also leads to fatalities when patients develop infections, sores or suffer lack of needed medical attention.
  • If your loved one shows signs of physical injury such as bruising, lacerations, swollen limbs or bumps on the head, etc., it definitely warrants immediate inquiry. If you're not satisfied with the explanation you're given, you can take additional steps to investigate the problem.
  • Not all symptoms of neglect or abuse include physical injuries. This is why it's critical that you pay close attention to your loved one's demeanor when you visit or correspond with him or her.
  • If your family member seems more agitated that expected due to the aging process or appears to get nervous or afraid when a particular caregiver enters the room, it may be a sign of abuse.

Your loved one's room and the overall environment in the nursing home should always be clean and well maintained. If bed linens appear unchanged or soiled, it's cause for concern. If your family member appears disheveled or sorely in need of personal hygiene, it is definitely a sign of substandard care.

Worst case scenarios devastate lives

Unexpected nursing home deaths often leave families of residents in shock. If family members of decedents learn that their loved ones' deaths were likely preventable, they may feel angry and frustrated that caregivers failed in their duties to keep their loved ones safe. Illinois law entitles those who have suffered the loss of a family member due to negligence or abuse to file wrongful death claims in civil court.

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