A previous post here discussed malnutrition and how damaging it can be for nursing home residents. This issue, along with many other types of neglect, is among many very real problems facing Illinois residents. And, the resulting harm can be quite extensive. Malnutrition, dehydration, failure to monitor, improper medication administration and abuse can all lead to a worsened medical condition, the need for extensive medical care and pain and suffering. They might, in fact, even lead to death.
Under Federal and State of Illinois laws, elder community members and those elders residing in long-term care facilities have the right to be treated with respect and to live with dignity free from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological or financial, and may be perpetrated by a caregiver such as a family member or staff at a long-term care facility.
When families are not equipped or trained to provide around the clock specialized care a loved one may need due to failing health, age or some other reason, placing a loved one in a nursing home may be the only option. Nursing homes are charged to provide care to our most vulnerable populations such as the elderly and persons with disabilities. But, sadly there are times when a loved one entrusted in the care of a nursing home suffers neglect or is abused.
According to the National Center for Elder Abuse, studies have shown that anywhere from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of elderly people have experienced some kind of elder abuse. Abusers tend to be caregivers and also family members such as adult children. Furthermore, a research article published in the Journal of Aging Research a couple of years ago reported that elders with cognitive degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's are more likely to suffer elder abuse.
It is difficult to witness a loved family member or friend being neglected or abused in a nursing home or long-term care facility. Many times people may suspect but may simply not know what to do if they suspect that someone is being neglected, abused or exploited at a nursing home. Illinois residents may find it helpful to learn steps they can take if they suspect that someone is being abused in a nursing home.