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Are Nursing Homes Making it Easier for Perpetrators to Abuse the Elderly?

nursing home abuse.pngBy providing poor training, low-wages, and questionable oversight nursing homes are allowing abuse to flourish. Whether it is financial, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, owners, operators, and staff members at nursing home facilities across the nation are failing to protect nursing home residents from physical harm and exploitation. It is estimated that one out of every ten nursing home residents will suffer some form of abuse.

Factors That Lead to Abuse

Nursing home staff are often paid low wages and receive minimal training in how to perform their jobs. In many cases, unskilled workers without the proper training are being placed into situations that they are not trained to operate. Coupled with chronic understaffing and overwork, this creates conditions where residents can quickly become the target of an employee's frustrations or anger. Further, it was only recently that workers and residents in nursing homes in Illinois were required to pass background checks. Some states still do not require this, putting patients at risk for abuse from caregivers and from fellow residents. Moreover, even if employees are fired or residents are evicted for suspected abuse, nothing ends up on their criminal records unless claims are verified and individuals are prosecuted.   

Minimal Oversight & Incomplete Investigations

While state agencies investigate allegations of abuse, this information is not made available to the public unless a claim is verified. Moreover, there is no national database that tracks nursing home abuse. This means that families do not have the information they need to determine whether or not their family member may be at risk of abuse within a particular facility.

When abuse is reported, it is not uncommon for nursing homes to conduct rapid, often incomplete investigations. Facilities often cite failing memories, lack of witnesses, and lack of physical evidence as reasons that allegations can't be substantiated and investigations can't be completed. In Illinois, the vast majority of sexual assaults that are reported remain unsubstantiated for these reasons.  When this happens, the perpetrator is "set free" and allowed to continue perpetrating abuse against nursing home residents. 

Nursing home neglect lawyers in Illinois help families whose loved ones have suffered nursing home abuse. When families contact an attorney at the earliest sign of abuse, it helps ensure that evidence can be gathered to substantiate the claim and pursue damages against the caregivers, facility operators, and other individuals and entities that are responsible.  

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