A Growing Problem

Nursing home abuse is a growing problem, as many elderly residents fail to report these incidents because they are ashamed or feel intimated. Nursing home injury cases caused by nursing home negligence is a growing problem in the United States. Federal government studies reveal that at least 30 percent of the nursing homes across the country have committed some form of negligence or malice that has resulted in personal injury to elderly patients.

Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Signs of nursing home abuse include:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures in different stages of healing
  • Abrupt behavioral changes
  • Staff who do not allow you to be alone with your loved one
  • Bedsores
  • Mysterious venereal disease or genital infections
  • Residents who are kept constantly over-medicated
  • Vaginal or anal bleeding and stained or bloody undergarments
  • Staff who refuses to allow visitors or delays visitation

   When you are choosing a nursing home for your loved one in the Chicago area, it is important for your their safety and comfort that you take your time. The Federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ranks US nursing homes on a scale of one to five, with five being “much above average” and one being “much below average.” Rankings are based on factors such as reported nursing home abuse and neglect  and are available on the CMS Website

Bearing in mind that 81 Chicago area nursing homes have recently received a score of one and an additional 81 received a score of two (“below average”) visiting this site before your begin visiting nursing homes is a very good idea.

The first thing that you should look for when visiting nursing homes is at the staffing levels. It is critical that a nursing home is well staffed. This being because a vast majority of problems that can occur in a nursing home setting, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and even malnourishment occur almost uniformly because of understaffing. However, if there are a sufficient number of caregivers, it becomes difficult for one to ignore or abuse abuse a resident- because others are around and actively monitoring the residents.

 

Another thing to be mindful when visiting a nursing home is how the staff members interact with patients. Pay close attention to how the staff speaks to and handles the patients. Are they using their names? Do the staff members seem to know the patients or, given high turnover, are they strangers? The more close interaction you are able to observe, the better sense you’ll have for what type of facility the nursing home is and whether it is one you can entrust with the care of your elderly loved one.