magnifying glass searching facts, nursing homeOperators of the modern nursing home present their facilities as a loving way to provide care for the elderly and disabled. However, the drive to maintain profits in the face of declining reimbursements results in the hiring of many lower-quality personnel. These poorly supervised minimum wage workers are the source of numerous abuse complaints.

Most states publish summaries of the abuse and neglect that is detected in the nursing homes they supervise. For example, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) publishes a quarterly analysis of such reports, and the stories often make for horrifying reading. Even more tragic, for every reported and prosecuted case of abuse, estimates indicate there are hundreds of unreported incidents that occur daily.

Fortunately, patients and family members can find some recourse for such abuse through an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. The need for these lawyers is shown when examining the Illinois specifics as well as national statistics. The National Center on Elder Abuse monitors a number of issues related to seniors and has a particular focus on nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Their most recent reports explain why so many families of these residents are forced to seek out a knowledgeable nursing home abuse lawyer. For example:

  • There are more than 14,000 complaints lodged with the National Ombudsman Reporting system each year involving abuse or gross neglect in these facilities.
  • The U.S General Accountability Office notes that many state agencies under-report the problems in nursing homes, with at least 15 percent ignoring situations that indicated actual harm and immediate jeopardy of a resident in a nursing home.
  • Abuse by other residents is now becoming a significant problem that is adding to the issue of abuse by staff.

It is important for those with family residing in a nursing home to carefully watch for the signs of abuse and to understand the range of injuries that are often reported. These include:

  • Medication errors
  • Bedsores
  • Sexual abuse
  • Malnutrition

Some family members hesitate to report abuse to a nursing home supervisor for fear of retaliation. Especially if this is the case, a consultation with the appropriate nursing home abuse lawyer is a first step in addressing any suspected abuse or neglect. In most cases, abuse is an ongoing problem that creates increasing danger for the patient. This reality makes it important to seek that advice as early as possible.

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