Healy Scanlon Law Firm

The impact elder abuse has on nursing home residents


Some residents in Illinois have to make challenging decisions regarding their aging loved ones. In some cases, an assisted living facility might be the best option for the health and safety for an elderly family member. While there are many safe and adequate nursing homes in the Chicago area, it is important to realize the signs of elder abuse and how this could greatly impact the health and even life of the abused or neglected loved one.

Elder abuse is considered the intentional actions by a caregiver that causes harm or the serious risk of harm to a vulnerable elderly person regardless if this harm is intended or not. Such actions include physical and financial abuse, mistreatment and the failure to provide care that satisfies the basic needs or protect the elderly person.

Based on a study by the National Center on Elder Abuse, about 7.6 to 10 percent of study participants experienced elder abuse. Additionally, this study found that only 1 in every 14 elderly abuse cases gets attention from the authorities. Recent research also found that of all the complaints filed regarding nursing home facilities, 7 percent were complaints of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

When an elderly loved one is a victim of elder abuse of nursing home neglect, he or she could be greatly impacted. Even those who experience modest abuse have a 300 percent higher risk of death when compared to elderly individuals who have not been abused. Being a victim of elder abuse results in high levels of psychological distress and other health car problems such as joint problems, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, heart problems and high blood pressure.

If an elderly loved ones was a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect and died as a result, loved ones have some recourses available to them. A nursing home death can be a difficult event to cope with, but loved ones can take the steps to investigate the matter. This could determine the cause of death and the role a nursing home facility might have had in the death. A wrongful death suit could help loved ones recover compensation for the loss of an elderly loved one.

Source: Ncea.aoa.gov, "Statistics/Data," accessed Jan. 6, 2016

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