Somerset Place, one of the largest nursing homes in Illinois, closed in 2010 following numerous complaints about the mistreatment of its residents. The Chicago facility lost its license and had its Medicaid funding cut off after investigations confirmed that residents were being neglected and abused. Sadly, this type of situation is more common than one would expect, and results in elderly nursing home residents suffering needless injuries.
For the elderly injuries caused by neglect, mistreatment and understaffing at nursing homes are a major concern. It’s important for family members to be alert for signs that their elderly loved ones are not receiving proper care in their skilled nursing or assisted living facilities.
Keeping an Eye Out
When visiting, family members should make sure that their senior relatives are clean, well-groomed and free of any bruises, cuts, scrapes, burns or bedsores. While many elderly people have impaired mobility that makes them more prone to bumps and falls, it is the nursing home’s responsibility to minimize any risks that could make such injuries in the elderly more likely.
If family members notice any injuries on elderly relatives, they should question the staff politely to try to find out the cause. If staff members are evasive, defensive or claim not to know how the elderly person’s injuries happened, that should raise a red flag for the family. Families should also be on the lookout for any conditions in the facility that appear to be unsafe, from wet floors and obstacles to insufficient staffing.
Beware of Falls
Falls are a particular concern for the elderly, with approximately one-third of those over the age of 65 and half of all people over the age of 80 falling each year. Among the elderly injuries from falls lead all other causes of death from injuries.
While not all falls result in serious injuries, an older adult who has fallen once is highly likely to fall again, and even if the person isn’t injured, he or she may be unable to get up without help. People who have fallen and remain on the ground without assistance for any significant length of time may suffer further health problems from being unable to move. Needless to say, if this happens to someone in a nursing home, it raises serious concerns about the quality of the care being provided.
Illinois law sets forth standards and provides remedies for victims and family members of those who have been harmed by the negligence of nursing homes and similar facilities. Family members who are concerned that their elderly relatives have suffered preventable injuries in an assisted living facility or nursing home should consult a law firm that has experience with such cases. Attorneys can investigate the situation and advise families of the best way to proceed to make sure that their loved ones are safe and being cared for properly. This may involve filing a complaint, moving the relative to a different facility or even filing suit if the staff’s neglect or mistreatment appears to be serious. An attorney familiar with elder care issues can provide the best advice.