Neglect is more common in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities than we care to believe. The fact of the matter is that most nursing home neglect cases go unreported—including those involving abandonment. If you believe your loved one has suffered because of inadequate care, a Chicago nursing home abandonment lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help.
What Is Abandonment?
Abandonment in a nursing home happens when caregivers neglect or desert residents without making reasonable arrangements to ensure proper care is provided. A resident may be left alone by staff members without notice to others, which can jeopardize the resident’s health and safety. Or, a staff member could fail to communicate the health status of a resident, resulting in the resident not receiving medications, food, water, etc., in a timely manner.
Abandonment is never acceptable and is often the result of understaffing. The majority of long-term care facilities in the United States are understaffed, which means abandonment is fairly common. Abandonment is even more common in facilities where staff are untrained or unqualified for what they’ve been assigned to do.
If a nurse is assigned to a patient, that patient is their responsibility until they pass the report on to another nurse in the facility. If the resident is being transferred or discharged, abandonment can happen if the facility or caretaker overtaking the resident’s care is not informed about their status.
Types of Nursing Home Abandonment
Nursing home residents are generally unable to live independently and meet their own needs. That is why they are living in a long-term care facility. Whether they need assistance with daily activities, medical care or medications, or making and eating meals, the facility is responsible for ensuring those needs are met. When a resident’s care is neglected over a longer period of time, the consequences could be severe or even fatal.
Common injuries and conditions nursing home residents develop when they’re abandoned include bed sores, malnutrition and dehydration, sprains or broken bones from falls, and disease complications from missed medications. If you suspect your loved one has sustained injuries or their condition has worsened because of abandonment, it’s important to understand the experience they have faced.
As we discussed, abandonment essentially refers to the neglect of care—whether intentional or unintentional. Common examples of nursing home abandonment include failing to assist with daily activities, not giving prescribed medications on time or at all, not regularly checking on residents, not turning bed-bound patients, failing to provide proper nutrition, leaving a patient on the floor for an extended period of time after a fall, and ignoring a patient’s call for assistance.
Even unintentional abandonment is nursing home abuse. Facilities have a responsibility to care for their residents. If they fail to do so, regardless of the reason or reasons, the at-fault parties should be held accountable for any of the repercussions the afflicted residents faced.
What To Do If You Suspect Abandonment in an Illinois Nursing Home
If you believe your loved one is being neglected in their elder care facility, you should start by talking with your loved one and ask them specific questions to get an idea of what they’ve been experiencing. For example, consider asking the following:
- How often do you see nursing staff?
- How long are nurses with you when they visit?
- If you ring for a nurse, how long does it take them to respond?
- When did you last receive a bath or have your clothes changed or laundered?
- Are you receiving meals regularly?
- Have you been left alone for extended periods of time?
- Do you receive your medications as prescribed?
Depending on your loved one’s answer, you can also ask the facility for documentation for nurse visits and the care they have been receiving. If you suspect your loved one is being abandoned, you can file a report with the facility and the appropriate state agencies if action is not taken.
Depending on the consequences of the abandonment, your family could have grounds to file an injury claim to seek compensation for your loved one’s losses, like related medical bills and pain and suffering. To understand your legal rights and options, it’s important to reach out to an experienced attorney.
Contact Thomas Law Offices in Illinois
Abandonment is a form of neglect. If you believe your loved one has been neglected in their long-term care facility, it’s important to get help. Once you know your loved one is safe, it’s time to get in touch with an Illinois nursing home abandonment lawyer from Thomas Law Offices.
Our attorneys recognize how disheartening it can be to learn that your loved one was mistreated in their eldercare home. We believe negligent facilities and their employees should be held accountable when harm occurs. To learn more about taking legal action for nursing home abandonment, contact us today.