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springfield workers compensation lawyerThere are many forms of nursing home negligence that can cause serious harm to residents. The possibility of nursing home abuse is a major concern for many families who have loved ones in these facilities. Improper restraints are one form of abuse that may be committed by a nursing home’s staff, and this includes the use of drugs to sedate patients or prevent behaviors that staff members consider to be troublesome. Chemical restraints are used far more frequently than many people realize. Family members should be aware of the potential situations in which this type of abuse may occur and their options for addressing this issue.

Schizophrenia Diagnoses and Antipsychotic Drugs

Nursing home residents may receive a variety of different types of drugs to treat their medical conditions. However, these drugs should be used to meet a patient’s medical needs rather than to serve the interests of a nursing home or its staff members. Unfortunately, some nursing homes use antipsychotic drugs or other types of medications as sedatives for residents with dementia in an effort to make these patients easier to manage.

To prevent the improper use of these types of medications, the federal government requires nursing homes to report on the number of patients who are prescribed antipsychotic drugs. However, the law makes an exception for patients who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. This has resulted in a 70 percent increase in the number of schizophrenia diagnoses in nursing homes since 2012. Even though around 0.7 percent of the population are affected by schizophrenia, one out of every nine nursing home residents in the United States have been diagnosed with this condition, and around 21 percent of nursing home patients have been prescribed antipsychotic medications.

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Springfield personal injury attorney nursing home abuse

Many elderly Americans need help with their daily activities. While some families are able to provide care for their loved ones, in many cases, nursing homes provide the best option, ensuring that a person will have a place to live and spend time with other people while having their needs attended to by trained staff members. Unfortunately, many elderly patients are victims of nursing home abuse. In some cases, residents will suffer abuse because of inadequate staff training or supervision, while in other situations, a member of a nursing home’s staff may be the perpetrator of physical, verbal, sexual, or financial abuse. Family members should be aware of the warning signs that may indicate that their loved one has experienced abuse.

Potential Signs That a Nursing Home Resident Is Suffering Abuse

Recognizing the signs of nursing home abuse can sometimes be difficult, especially if a patient suffers from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other conditions that may prevent them from telling others about what is happening to them. In some cases, residents may be afraid to discuss these issues out of fear that they will suffer further harm. Family members will want to watch for the following warning signs that may indicate that abuse is occurring:

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Nursing home residents have the same rights as any other patient at a medical facility. They are also afforded specific rights under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act as well as other state and federal legislation. Residents have the right to wear their own clothes and use their own personal property, enjoy a reasonable level of privacy, practice their chosen religion, and much more. Sadly, one of the most important rights afforded to nursing home residents is also one of the most commonly violated. Although nursing home residents have a legal right to be free of unnecessary restraints, overuse of physical and chemical restraints persists throughout Illinois and the United States.

What Is a Restraint?
Restraints are anything used to limit a resident’s movement or independence. Physical restraints include items like arm and leg restraints, ties, vests, and hand mitts. Everyday items can also be used as restraints. For example, bed sheets may be tucked in tightly in order to keep a resident from getting out of bed. Wheelchair wheel locks may be used to stop a resident from moving about the facility. Chemical restraints are substances used to sedate a resident. Medications such as antipsychotic drugs and benzodiazepines are sometimes administered to nursing home residents “off label” to keep them calm.

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Moving a parent, grandparent, or any relative into a nursing home is never an easy task. If you have an elderly or disabled loved one who is staying in a nursing home, you may be worried about the quality of care he or she is receiving. Although many nursing home workers are kind, caring, proficient caregivers, some nursing home staff expose residents to unlawful neglect or even abuse. Research shows that many nursing homes are dangerously understaffed or employ workers who do not have adequate training. This is why it is essential for anyone with a loved one in a nursing home to be vigilant for recognizing signs of nursing home neglect and abuse.

Unexplained Injuries and Preventable Medical Conditions
Most nursing home residents need assistance with daily living tasks like eating meals, showering, and using the restroom as well as managing their medical conditions. Poor hygiene, malnutrition, and dehydration are often red flags of nursing home neglect. Some residents suffer from severe physical disabilities or cognitive incapacitation that make them completely reliant on nursing home staff. Decubitus ulcers or bedsores are an especially serious concern for residents who have reduced mobility. Workers at these long-term care facilities should periodically reposition residents who cannot move about on their own so that bedsores do not develop. If a resident does develop bedsores, it should be immediately addressed so that the wound does not become infected. Frequent bedsores or bedsores that are not adequately treated can be a sign that a resident is being neglected. Unexplained injuries like bruises, scrapes, and fractures may also be a sign of neglect or abuse.

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Can you sue a nursing home in Illinois?

Millions of Americans reside in nursing homes. These are places where our loved ones should be receiving the care they deserve. However, there are times when nursing homes do not live up to the standards they are required to by law. If a nursing home has been negligent or if nursing home staff have abused or neglected a president, they could face a lawsuit. There are various reasons the elder abuse lawsuit against the nursing home may arise.

Nursing home abuse

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10% of every person over the age of 60 has experienced some form of elder abuse. Data from the CDC shows that this type of abuse can take many forms, including the following:

  • Physical abuse. This occurs when a nursing home resident experiences illness, pain, or injury as a result of the intentional use of force by nursing home staff (slapping, kicking, burning, pushing, punching, etc.).
  • Sexual abuse. This type of abuse includes any forced or unwanted sexual interaction with a nursing home resident.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse. This abuse refers to both verbal and nonverbal behaviors aimed to inflict mental pain, dear, anguish, and distress on a nursing home resident. This can include name-calling, destruction of property, humiliation tactics, isolation, and more.
  • Financial abuse. It is illegal to improperly use a nursing home resident’s finances or assets. However, nursing home staff typically has access to their residents’ personal and financial information.

Nursing home neglect

Neglect is also a form of elder abuse. In the nursing home setting, neglect includes the failure of the nursing home staff to meet a resident’s basic needs. This can include a failure to provide the following:

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