As the generation of baby boomers continues to reach seniority, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities are in increasingly high demand. Although we should be able to expect the best and most conscientious care for our aging population, studies show that one in five nursing home residents suffer abuse. This ongoing problem can come in many forms. If you or a loved one have been abused at a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact a Chicago personal injury attorney today to discuss your case.
National Data: Up to 30% of Elderly Abused in Nursing Homes
According to a recent report by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, up to 30% of those in nursing homes are abused. There are many different types of elder abuse, and it can be inflicted by a variety of parties, including health care aides, roommates, or other residents in a facility.
Patients may suffer financial, verbal, mental, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. The older population is specifically vulnerable to abuse because they are often physically unable to fend off an attacker, and some do not have the mental or verbal capacity to report the abuse. The most compromised elders may not even be aware that someone is hurting or taking advantage of them. Seniors with limited resources may be wary to report abusive situations for fear of inconveniencing loved ones or having nowhere else to go.
The National Center on Elder Abuse says that it is important for loved ones to remain vigilant and alert. The organization notes that many seniors are afraid or embarrassed to report abuse, and that “suffering is often in silence.”
They recommend looking out for warning signs, including:
- Broken bones
- Signs of sexual abuse like bruising near the breasts or genital region
- Changes in personality like unusual depression
- Sudden unexplainable depletion of financial resources
- Unattended medical needs like poor hygiene
- Unusual weight loss
- Increasingly angry or threatening behavior towards spouses or other loved ones
- Noticeably tense relationships with caregivers
Although any elder may suffer nursing home abuse, seniors with dementia or other cognitive impairments, and those who are isolated from friends and family are among the most vulnerable.
How a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If someone you love is being abused in a nursing home, the perpetrator and the facility may be liable for civil damages and criminal penalties. If an elder you know has been injured in a nursing facility, or you are worried about suspected abuse, contact a Chicago personal injury attorney to discuss your case at (312) 236-2900. Our aging population deserves only the best care, and if your loved one hasn’t gotten it, he or she deserves compensation.