Taking the Confusion Out of Common Injury and Estate Planning Worries: Answers to Your Frequent Questions
The most important job for any attorney is making sure that his client understands every aspect of her case. Although some lawyers are comfortable keeping their clients in the dark, we feel that you deserve more. You deserve to have all of your questions and concerns addressed in order to pursue your own case confidently and successfully. This is why we take the initiative to answer common questions that you may have even before you even step into our office. If you don't see your question answered below, please contact our office at 855-522-5291.
- Page 1
How can I ensure my loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is safe in a nursing home?
By 2030, over 7.5 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). For the many families of those who suffer from the disease, decisions on how to care for a loved one can be difficult. Often, the patients require more assistance than the family can offer alone. Many times, families turn to skilled care facilities to provide their loved ones with a safe, healthy environment. However, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are often the victims of abuse by their caregivers. An NCEA survey showed that 47 percent of surveyed caregivers had abused or neglected a patient with dementia.
Patients With Alzheimer’s Are Vulnerable to Abuse
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia—a condition that causes memory loss, confusion, social withdrawal, mood changes, and decreased judgment. These symptoms worsen over time and leave dementia patients especially vulnerable to abuse, as they may prevent the abused patient from recognizing or reporting the abuse.
It is important to be vigilant and involved in the care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, as they may not be able to communicate abuse. Symptoms of abuse may include:
- Aggressive behavior by the patient and fighting between the patient and caregiver—noted by the NCEA as the best indicator that abuse is taking place
- Physical symptoms such as bruises, welts, burn marks, or bedsores
- Sudden changes in health
- Sudden changes in finances
Finding the Best Care for Your Loved One
There are many care options available for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. While it can feel like a daunting decision to place your relative in a care facility, experts suggest:
- Talking to medical professionals and social workers about local care facilities.
- Visiting the different types of facilities to get a feel for each place and what it can offer your loved one.
- Being involved. Once your loved one has entered a facility, check on him often and build a relationship with the staff.
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse
If you suspect your loved one is being abused, it is important to take action. Speak to a doctor and the staff of the care facility. In Illinois, the Department of Public Health investigates cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an older person living in a long-term care facility. Additionally, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can aid in preserving evidence, preventing future instances of abuse, and securing compensation for medical expenses.
If you suspect someone you love has suffered nursing home abuse, you may choose to take legal action. Contact the experienced legal team at Tapella Law for a free consultation at 855-522-5291.
What can I do if I suspect my loved one is being abused in a nursing home?
As parents and grandparents grow older, it can be difficult to meet their unique and changing needs. Often, families rely on skilled facilities to care for elderly family members. Nursing homes have a special duty to keep the elderly safe and healthy, and family members trust that their loved ones will be protected and taken care of. Sometimes, however, that trust is violated through nursing home abuse or neglect.
A 2010 survey found that over half of nursing home staff members admitted to mistreating older patients within the year leading up to the study. The mistreatment included physical abuse, mental abuse, and neglect. For the estimated 1.4 million older adults living in nursing homes and their families, that can be a scary statistic.
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse
If your loved one lives in a nursing home and you suspect abuse or neglect, there are steps you should take immediately to end the mistreatment:
- Take photos. Visible signs of injury such as bruises, welts, cuts, burns, and evidence of restraints may be present. Hints at neglect can include bedsores and dirty living conditions.
- Report your suspicions to an administrator. Nursing home officials should be notified, so they can take steps to protect the abused person. Make sure to document your complaint by following up with written letter or an email.
- Inform the proper authorities. Concerned family members can contact the Illinois Adult Protective Services or the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. Law enforcement and a state’s long-term care ombudsman program also examine elder abuse cases.
- Consider contacting a lawyer. An experienced personal injury attorney can preserve evidence and help take steps to stop the abuse and hold the abuser responsible.
Families do not have to prove that abuse is occurring. Once a complaint is made to authorities, an investigation will take place to assess the situation. Additionally, many states have laws that shield those who report the abuse from liability if no abuse is taking place.
Safety advocacy groups encourage family members to voice their concerns about elder abuse because suspicions are correct all too often. If your loved one has been mistreated at a nursing home, we may be able to help. Contact the legal team at Tapella Law to learn more at 855-522-5291.