What is the Difference Between Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse? 

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

nursing home neglectIn many ways, nursing home neglect and abuse in Illinois are two different names for acts that may result in the same injuries. For example, both neglect and abuse may cause serious injury. These injuries may be both physical and emotional. The state of mind of the care provider is the big difference between nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect. Abuse is an intentional tort and neglect is an unintentional tort. Note that there’s a difference between intentional and malicious. In this context, intentional basically means non-accidental.

As outlined below, understaffing is a common cause of both nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse. These two conditions also have a common remedy. A nursing home neglect lawyer in Rockford may be able to obtain substantial compensation for these injury victims, regardless of the underlying cause.

Examples of Nursing Home Neglect

Falls are common kinds of nursing home neglect injuries. Many nursing home residents will fall at least once during their stay. Many of these victims are unable to ever live independently again.

Overpopulation and understaffing may result in falls. Typically, construction crews are often renovating or expanding nursing homes. The facility should have staffers posted to keep residents out of these areas. But these workers often aren’t available at understaffed facilities. Simple negligence, such as the failure to block off an uneven walkway or clean up a wet spot, also cause a number of residents to fall.

Many people are surprised to learn that resident-on-resident assaults are increasingly common at these facilities. Once again, understaffing is often at the root of these issues. A nursing home should deploy staffers in common areas to break up petty arguments between residents before these arguments become violent. Many residents are very frail. So, even a tiny bit of force may cause a serious injury.

Medical issues, such as malnutrition and bedsores, are a problem as well. When we get older, our senses degrade. So, food no longer smells, looks, or tastes good. Therefore, unless a dietician is used to ensure that residents eat, some simply do not eat. Pressure ulcers develop unless staff turns over residents in bed at least once every hour or two. These open sores may quickly get worse and become life-threatening.

Nursing Home Abuse Examples

Understaffing is also at the root of many abuse injuries. Understaffed environments are pressure-packed environments. Some staffers lash out at residents. Similarly, high turnover rates often cause abuse. New workers are less able to deal with residents, especially if the worker has little or no experience in a nursing home setting. Some examples of nursing home abuse include:

  • Physical: As mentioned, many residents are quite frail. So, a push or grasp could cause a serious injury. These injuries often happen because the staffer is frustrated with the resident, and these frustrations boil over.
  • Mental: The old saying that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” is completely inaccurate. Words like “no one loves you” or “your family has forgotten you” hurt as much as physical abuse.
  • Sexual: In addition to unconsented sexual activity, other forms of sexual abuse include forcing residents to witness sex acts.
  • Financial: Financial abuse could be something simple, like stealing money from a resident’s room. Other times, financial abuse involves an elaborate scheme, such as gaining a resident’s trust and then tricking the resident into signing a legal document. Institutional financial abuse is a problem as well. Some facilities file unnecessary guardianship actions to gain control of the resident’s money.

Individuals are legally and morally responsible for abuse. The facility is financially responsible, at least in some cases, under a theory like negligent hiring or negligent supervision.

Contact a Hard-Working Winnebago County Attorney

Either abuse and neglect at nursing homes could cause a serious injury. For a free consultation with an experienced Rockford nursing home neglect lawyer, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd at 815-315-0574. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

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