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Nursing home residents and their families face more than the risk of abuse and neglect, a recent New York Times article reported. The multi-billion dollar industry has created a way to suppress the constitutional right of residents and their families of trial by jury when abuse and neglect occurs. Vulnerable consumers, desperate to sign agreements, are forced into mediation rather than lawsuits. Forced arbitration clauses, such as those found in nursing home agreements, favor corporations and prevent consumers from holding companies fully accountable. They make claims too expensive to pursue and provide little relief to customers that have been wronged by abusive practices.

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illinois nursing home negligence, Chicago personal injury lawyerIt is a sad and unfortunate fact that the most vulnerable members of our society are also the most susceptible to abuse, neglect, and negligence. But just how prevalent is elder abuse, neglect, and negligence? How many of them result in wrongful death or personal injury cases? And just how often are those cases tied to the long-term care facilities entrusted with the care of someone’s beloved family member?

National Study Reveals Alarming Information on Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

According to a study from the National Center on Elder Abuse, 3.2 million Americans resided in a long-term facility in 2008, and more than 900,000 lived in an assisted living setting. Interviews with 2,000 nursing home residents revealed that 44 percent had experienced abuse, and 95 percent had experienced neglect or had seen another resident being neglected. But the claims of nursing home negligence and abuse come from more than just the residents themselves; staff of nursing homes and regulating agencies also give us a glimpse into just how severe of a problem nursing home abuse and neglect has become.

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Illinois elder abuse, Chicago nursing home neglect lawyersSome people need more protecting than others, particularly young children and the elderly. That responsibility rests on the shoulders of the community—caregivers, healthcare professionals, financial institutions, neighbors, friends, and family—so make a difference in the lives of those around you. Learn how to recognize the signs of elder abuse, and know what you should do to take action against it.

Understanding Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is any type of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person. Most commonly, abusers are spouses and family members, but an abuser can be anyone that comes into regular contact with the victim, including:

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coumadin blood thinner, Chicago nursing home neglect lawyerWhen you place a family member in a nursing home or other long-term facility, you expect them to be treated with care. Unfortunately, it does not always work out this way. Mistakes, negligence, and accidents do happen. But when it happens with medications, the implications can be severe, maybe even deadly.

The “Most Dangerous Drug in America”

Coumadin, a commonly prescribed anticoagulant, was originally used as a rat and mouse killer. In the 1950s, it became a breakthrough drug for humans with clotting disorders, arrhythmias, and deep vein thrombosis. Indeed, it can be a life-saving drug when used correctly. But there are some serious dangers with Coumadin, particularly for geriatric patients.

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nursing home guardianship debts, Chicago nursing home neglect lawyerIt is a difficult decision to make to move a family member into a nursing home. After going through the steps to find the best facility to ensure the family member gets the care and attention needed, sometimes families may be shocked if they receive a petition from the nursing home for guardianship over their family member. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is written to protect the rights of the elderly in nursing homes and reduce the possibility of abuse and neglect, including management of their finances.

After a family member has moved into a nursing home, services begin to be billed to the spouse, family member, or guardian, sometimes reaching thousands of dollars each month. Those who question the cost above the original stated cost can quickly accumulate debt they did not account for. If they refuse to pay the overage until they see the statement of services or Medicaid has paid their portion, the amount owed to the nursing home continue to increase. This may lead the nursing home to file a petition for guardianship to collect debts for the resident.

It is the responsibility of the party filing the petition to provide proof that a guardianship is needed; after it has been clearly demonstrated the person in question is unable to make their own decisions.

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nursing home care, Chicago nursing home negligence lawyersA law signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn went into effect at the first of the New Year to help protect the safety, care, and rights of senior citizens in the state. The law is designed to improve reporting procedures, investigations, and swifter resolutions for negligence and abuse of elders in nursing homes.

A National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) research brief reveals that over 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating elder patients. Physical abuse was the highest reported type of abuse occurring in nursing homes and two-thirds of the incidents of mistreatment involved neglect. With research showing over 40 percent of people over the age of 65 will enter a nursing home before they die, these disturbing statistics are cause for high alert and concern among families.

Nursing home residents suffering neglect have been victim to:

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nursing home abuse, Chicago nursing home neglect attorneyTransitioning a family member into a nursing home is a decision that takes time, research, and careful thought before selecting a placement. The chosen facility needs to be safe with resources and staff available to create a suitable living environment. These expectations of proper security have been under scrutiny more recently as new research from the Gerontological Society of America has shown that nearly one in five people living in a nursing home is a victim of abuse.

Hostile and unsafe incidents among elderly residents, including physical assault, are occurring at such a common rate at long-term care facilities that staff members almost seem unaware of the growing problem. This negligence is leading to injuries, such as bruises, lacerations, and fractures, putting residents in danger in their own home.

Lead author of this latest study, Karl Pillemer, a professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell University, attributes part of the problem to crowded conditions and lack of adequate staff for the number of residents needing care. In order to shed light on this dangerous reality of nursing home abuse, he says data collection of the incidents is just the beginning.

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