Abuse Leads to Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes

 

 

There are, unfortunately, many types of nursing home abuse that can result in wrongful death. Neglect is a very common cause of death in nursing homes, but often it is accompanied by abuse, both by staff and by residents.

 

Nursing home staff have a great deal of power over the residents. Sometimes, the staff will use this power abusively. They might constantly insult or degrade a resident, or they may physically or sexually abuse residents. They might withhold medication or restrain residents physically or with dangerous drugs.

 

Helping a loved one move into a nursing home or long term care facility can be nerve racking for anyone. There are always concerns about the care your loved one is receiving and everyone has heard the horror stories of abuse and neglect for the elderly. However, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved one’s safety and rights are protected under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.  The Act was established and enacted to provide nursing home residents and their families, with the assurance that they will receive proper care and will not be subject to nursing home abuse and neglect. When we think of nursing home neglect or abuse, we often think of physical injuries.

The  Act now clarifies that nursing home residents’ rights can now be vindicated even if abuse or neglect did not result in an injury. The Act clearly states that “assistance with activities of daily living” are a category of services that, if withheld or not provided, constitute neglect. This means if a nursing home fails to provide the most basic human needs, such as hygiene, dressing, and feeding. Although these failures may not result in a serious or permanent injury they are still considered abuse and neglect.

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.