nursing home abuse

Is Nursing Home Abuse on the Rise?

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Nursing home abuse attorney

According to one study, during and immediately after COVID-19 lockdowns, nursing home abuse in the United States increased a staggering 83%. Researchers cited the frail physical and mental condition of many nursing home residents along with “increased interpersonal stressors” among nursing home workers. Usually, elder abuse isn’t malicious. Most abusers don’t want to hurt alleged victims, although their conduct is intentional. They simply don’t care if the older people they abuse get hurt or not.

If a friend or loved one makes an outcry of abuse at a nursing home, always take these allegations seriously. Share your concerns with the nursing home administrator. If that person doesn’t take prompt corrective action, immediately speak to a Rockford nursing home abuse lawyer. An attorney can obtain the compensation abuse survivors and their families need and deserve. Typically, attorneys are able to settle these claims out of court. These resolutions end cases earlier and give the victims more control over the outcome.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

COVID-19 anxiety was bad enough. On top of this stress, most nursing homes are dangerously understaffed. Stressed-out employees must often do two, three, or four different jobs. The combined pressure is enough to push almost anyone to commit abusive acts like:

  • Physical Abuse: Normally, a shove or a push doesn’t cause serious injury. But if the victim is physically frail, that’s a more physical force that the victim can absorb. Such physical abuse often leads to broken bones, head injuries, internal wounds, and other serious injuries.
  • Financial Abuse: This form of abuse could be individual or institutional. Individual financial abuse ranges from stealing money or valuables to elaborate schemes designed to trick older people out of their money or trick them into signing legal documents. Institutional financial abuse usually involves unwarranted guardianship proceedings. Institutions often launch these proceedings to gain complete control of a resident’s money.
  • Sexual Abuse: Torn clothing, physical wounds in private areas of the body, and sudden, drastic behavioral changes are almost sure signs of sexual abuse. As long as these individuals think they can get away with it, this abuse will probably continue.

Common legal theories in nursing home abuse cases include negligent hiring and negligent supervision.

When they hire employees, nursing homes have a legal duty to ensure that the employee is competent to perform the work required. Facilities cannot hire licensed vocational nurses to do jobs registered nurses should do. Furthermore, nursing homes cannot hire workers with previous issues dealing with people and ask them to take care of residents. Special rules apply if the incompetence involves a prior criminal record.

Usually, negligent supervision is a failure to deal with prior abuse allegations in the manner outlined above. When nursing home administrators receive complaints, they must thoroughly, efficiently, and transparently investigate them. Furthermore, if the investigation confirms abuse, the nursing home must take proper corrective action.

Damages Available

We mentioned the available compensation in a nursing home abuse case above. Usually, this compensation includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Victims need this compensation so they can pay abuse-related expenses, like medical bills. This money shouldn’t come from an abuse survivor’s own pocket.

Victims deserve this compensation because they must find a way to move on with their lives. Usually, abuse survivors want to get away from the abusive environment, even if the nursing home does the right thing and disciplines the at-fault employee. Quite frankly, abuse survivors need money in order to execute this plan.

Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme cases. Jurors may award this money if there is clear and convincing evidence the nursing home deliberately ignored a known risk.

Reach Out to a Diligent Winnebago County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Nursing home abuse victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. by calling 815-315-0574. You have a limited amount of time to act.