The decision to move an elderly loved one into a nursing home is never easy. But when a loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s and other dementias, families trust that qualified nursing homes and other long-term care facilities possess the resources and staff to skillfully and compassionately care for residents in various stages of dementia. Sadly, nursing home neglect and abuse can occur even in facilities designed to care for dementia patients.
Increased risk of nursing home neglect and abuse
Approximately 5 million Americans aged 65 and older suffer from some degree of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer Association. It’s estimated that 75 percent of those with Alzheimer’s will be admitted to a nursing home by age 80. Deteriorating cognitive abilities make it increasingly difficult for those with Alzheimer’s to effectively communicate, perform daily tasks or even maintain relationships with loved ones and caregivers. Confused by their inability to retain information and memories, many people suffering from dementia become depressed, anxious, agitated, and prone to wandering – behaviors that can be dangerous for the resident and frustrating for staff.
Meeting the needs of elderly people with dementia is not limited to medical care. Nursing homes have a responsibility to assist residents with daily activities from eating to bathing, to monitor safety by preventing falls and wandering or elopement, and to ensure the emotional needs of residents are being met through appropriate social activities and interactions. Because Alzheimer’s patients exhibit varying levels of dementia, it is critical for care plans to be developed on an individual basis.
Unfortunately, the same traits that make it challenging for family members to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can also present difficulty for nursing home staff. A poorly trained nursing home employee who becomes frustrated with an uncooperative resident may threaten to withhold food or social activities. Employees at an understaffed facility may neglect to adequately prevent bedsores or fall-related injuries. Particularly unscrupulous nursing home employees may even resort to taking advantage of mentally impaired patients through outright physical or sexual assault or theft of personal items and identity. Alzheimer’s patients are not only more susceptible to abuse than the general elderly population, but – because they are unable to speak up – they may be less likely to get help.
Preventing the abuse of Alzheimer’s patients
Elderly people, especially those with dementia, are among our society’s most vulnerable citizens. At Phillips Law Offices, our Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys are committed to improving the standard of care in nursing homes by holding facilities accountable for negligent and abusive conduct. If you suspect neglect or abuse in the injury of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, it’s important to discuss your legal options with a qualified attorney. Victims of nursing home abuse and their families may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, or wrongful death.
Some of the most significant signs of Alzheimer’s abuse in nursing homes include, but are not limited to:
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Bruises, cuts or burns
- Wandering or elopement
- Rapid onset or worsening of symptoms
- Increased agitation, depression or mood swings
- Antisocial behavior
- Sudden development of health issues
- Unexplained financial problems
There is no justification for careless misconduct that results in the preventable pain, injury or death of a family member in a nursing home. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys have more than 65 years of experience successfully assisting victims of nursing home abuse and their loved ones. We have the knowledge and resources to aggressively investigate your case and pursue the maximum recovery to which you are entitled.
While there is no way to undo the physical and emotional distress that your family may have suffered, obtaining justice makes it possible to recoup financial costs and restore the safety and dignity of your loved one. If someone you love has been the victim of nursing home abuse or negligence, contact the Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys of Phillips Law Offices today at (312) 346-4262 or online to schedule your free legal consultation.