When You Need a Lawyer who Will Fight for You

Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Placing a loved one in a nursing home is never an easy decision, but we often do it so mom or dad can get the care they need. One thing you should never have to fear is a nursing home and its employees treating your loved one poorly. It is devastating for a family to hear that their loved one has been injured or killed in a place that they trusted. If that happens, you need attorneys in your corner who know how to hold negligent nursing home operators accountable for their actions.

At The Collins Law Firm, our attorneys spend every day fighting for the most vulnerable among us, who have been injured or killed by someone else's carelessness. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing the victims of neglect and abuse. We fight for you, so that your family can take the time to heal. Contact us to arrange a free initial consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions: How Serious a Problem is Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes?

Bed side Elder abuse is a large and growing problem in the United States. According to recent research, about 10% of seniors experience elder abuse, with more than 2 million cases of elder abuse reported every year. The problem is even more prevalent among the elderly who live in nursing homes. Nursing home abuse occurs at every type of facility, and the statistics are shocking. Moreover, the problem continues to increase as more elderly citizens enter the system. In addition, when you consider that the elderly are the least likely demographic to report abuse, the prevalence of abuse is very likely even greater than we know. The following are some recent statistics on elder abuse at nursing homes:

  • In one year alone, 25% of nursing homes were cited for causing serious injury or death.
  • More than 30% of nursing homes experience some type of elder abuse.
  • Only about 20% of abuse cases are reported.
  • Abusers are known to the victim in 90% of cases.
  • Abusers are usually staff members, fellow patients or even frequent visitors.
  • It is estimated that 5,000 deaths may occur each year due to negligence or injuries suffered at nursing homes.
  • Nursing home residents fall twice as much as the general senior population.
  • 10% of nursing home patients suffer from bedsores.
  • Almost a third of nursing homes were cited for violating federal regulations meant to protect the elderly.
  • 44% of nursing home residents report some type of abuse.
  • 95% of nursing home patients report neglect of themselves or other residents.
  • A study reported that more than 50% of nursing home employees admitted mistreating residents within the past year.
  • Almost half of all nursing home residents report being in pain over the course of a normal week, with 14% reporting moderate to severe pain.
  • More than 50% of certified Nursing Assistants at nursing homes admitted yelling at, verbally abusing or using foul language with, elderly patients.
  • Nearly 10% of nursing homes had violations that posed a serious risk of injury or death, or that actually did cause the death of residents.

In addition, statistics show that the size of the resident population in a long term care facility is a risk factor for elder abuse. The greater the number of residents, the greater the risk. Shockingly, nursing homes in Illinois with more than 100 patients are 39% more likely to jeopardize residents’ safety than facilities with 50-100 patients, and 127% more likely to do so than homes with less than 50 residents.

What Signs of Elder Abuse/Neglect Should You Look for?

Elderly Lady It is very important to be able to spot abuse in nursing homes in order to protect your loved one, but what should you be on the lookout for? Here are some common signs of elder abuse.

  1. Unexplained bruising, black eyes or other injuries
  2. Falls, especially if they are frequent
  3. The development of bedsores
  4. Rapid weight loss
  5. Lack of interest in activities the patient used to enjoy
  6. A change in demeanor such as aggression or unusual depression
  7. Emotional agitation or extreme withdrawal
  8. Unusual behavior changes such as sucking, biting, or rocking
  9. Fear of being touched
  10. Patients overmedicated or sedated
  11. Signs of overmedication like drowsiness, dry and cracked lips, slumping in wheelchairs, drooling, unresponsive behavior, vacant stares and slurred speech
  12. Caretakers unable to give a reasonable explanation of a patient’s condition or injury
  13. Signs of neglect, like poor personal hygiene, urine smell, unsanitary conditions
  14. Patients left in bed for long periods of time
  15. Residents unattended for long periods of time
  16. Missing personal items, especially items of value
  17. Scratches, welts, cuts or bite marks on the face or other parts of the body, especially if they are symmetrical on both sides of the body
  18. Marks on wrists or other areas of the body left by restraints
  19. Dehydration or malnutrition
  20. Fractures, sprains, dislocations or head injuries
  21. A dramatic decrease in physical or emotional health
  22. Lack or delay of medical treatment
  23. Increase in elder hospitalization or emergency treatment for injuries
  24. Fear or hesitation by the patient when he or she receives care or assistance from staff or around another resident
  25. Incomplete health reports
  26. Being unable to talk to seniors on the phone for extended periods of time
  27. Broken eye glasses or frames
  28. Hair pulls or sudden bald spots
  29. Instances of wandering or running away
  30. A residence's reluctance to speak in staff member’s presence
  31. Caregiver refusing to allow relatives to see the resident alone
  32. Frequent arguments or tension between the resident and a caregiver
  33. Patient wanting to be isolated from others
  34. Resident is frequently ill, and illness is not promptly reported to family and physician
  35. Reports of a drug overdose or failure to take medication regularly
  36. Unexplained or unexpected death of a resident
What Kinds of Elder Abuse Cases Does The Collins Law Firm Handle?

Elder patient At The Collins Law Firm, we represent nursing home clients who have been the victims of all types of financial, physical or mental abuse as well as those who have suffered as a result of neglect. Some of the more common types of abuse cases we encounter are:

Wrongful Death Sadly, in the United States, it is estimated that 5,000 nursing home residents die each year as a result of abuse or neglect. Serious falls, physical abuse, improper medication, lack of timely and proper medical treatment, malnutrition and dehydration, infection and even bedsores can result in an untimely death. Oftentimes a minor or initially innocuous problem becomes a deadly condition due to failure to detect, manage and treat the problem. No patient at a nursing home and no family should ever have to go through this.

Pressure Sores These sores, also called decubitus ulcers or bedsores, result from inadequate care and are receiving growing attention because of their prevalence. In Illinois, almost 20% of nursing home residents have pressure sores of stage 2 or higher on a scale of 4. Bedsores occur when staff fail to move and reposition patients with limited mobility on a regular basis. As a result, the blood supply to tissue is interrupted and the flesh dies. This causes pain and disability and can even lead to an open wound. When this happens, even more serious complications such as sepsis, gangrene, amputation, and even death can result. It is critical that you insist that the nursing home begin treatment of your loved one’s pressure sores immediately.

Unnecessary Falls at nursing homes occur regularly and repeatedly. In fact, the rate of falls in nursing homes is double that for the same age group living outside of long-term care facilities. The issue is a very serious one according to the following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control:

  • Each year a typical nursing home with 100 beds reports 100-200 falls.
  • About 1800 nursing home residents die from fall-related injuries every year.
  • Between half and three-quarters of nursing home residents fall each year.
  • Residents who do fall, often do so more than once, on average 2.6 times a year.
  • 10%-20% of nursing home falls cause serious injuries such as bone fractures.

Falls in nursing homes can result in death, injury, disability, functional decline, depression and reduced quality of life for your loved one. It is extremely important to be vigilant for conditions that might increase the chances of a serious fall.

Negligent Care Inadequate care can result in all sorts of injuries to a resident. Neglect can cause incontinence, malnutrition and weight loss, choking, clogged breathing tubes, dehydration, and a decline in the patient’s quality of life. Neglect can also be responsible for bedsores, infection, illness and a deterioration in a patient’s condition due to lack of treatment or proper medication and a failure to coordinate care. Inadequate supervision can lead to burns, falls, and the patient wandering off. In addition, negligent care can also result in patients being over or under medicated, or being improperly treated with antipsychotics or sedatives to make them "easier to handle". Many of these conditions dramatically impact a patient’s everyday quality of life, and if left untreated, can lead to serious injury, disability or even death.

Overmedication Overmedication Sadly, there are nursing homes who overmedicate their residents on a regular basis because it makes them easier to handle, or because of inadequate staffing. Sometimes the overmedication is an unintentional mistake made by an overstressed, overworked employee. Other times the patient is overmedicated intentionally because they are aggressive, emotional or uncooperative. Keeping a patient sedated for long periods of time for any reason is called "chemical restraint" and can be very dangerous. Here are some facts about overmedicating:

  • Fewer than 20% of nursing home residents require antipsychotic medication.
  • However, more than 300,000 nursing home residents are on antipsychotics.
  • More than 50% of residents taking antipsychotics have no reason for taking them.
  • 17% of patients receive greater than the recommended daily dosage of antipsychotics.
  • 15,000 nursing home residents die every year because of un-prescribed antipsychotics.

If you observe that a large percentage of patients at a nursing home appear to be on antipsychotic drugs, this may be cause for alarm. It may be a sign that the facility does not take precautions against overmedicating or has a regular practice of overmedicating. If your loved one seems to be acting differently, ask to see a log of his/her medications. Ask about any medications you are not familiar with; ask if they are sedatives or antipsychotics; and if so, why they are being administered, for how long and when the treatment will be over.

If the facility can give no credible, medical reason for your loved one to be medicated, speak to a doctor and insist that he or she be taken off any unnecessary sedatives or antipsychotics.

At The Collins Law Firm we help you through a difficult situation by navigating the legal issues involved, providing your loved ones with the care and safety they deserve, and fighting for justice for your family.

What Can the Attorneys at The Collins Law Firm Do for You?

Law Books Nursing homes are supposed to help our loved ones to live their lives in comfort and safety. All too often this is not the case and our loved ones suffer at the hands of people who are there to care for them. When this happens, the seasoned lawyers and legal team at The Collins Law Firm will work closely with you and your loved one to uncover the facts surrounding how an injury occurred and work toward a favorable settlement or lawsuit against the facility. More specifically, our lawyers can hold the nursing home accountable by:

  • Putting together the strongest case possible to maximize your chance of winning your case in court or obtaining a fair settlement.
  • Obtaining all medical records and bills from your physicians and hospital.
  • Obtaining death certificates and coroner’s reports.
  • Obtaining charts and records from the nursing home.
  • Making a photographic record of conditions at the facility.
  • Taking photos of any and all injuries.
  • Taking a detailed statement from your loved one.
  • Getting reports from nurses and physicians that indicate any failure to provide an adequate standard of care or that include any evidence to support your claim of abuse or neglect.
  • Checking state inspection reports on the nursing home.
  • Acting as a liaison between you, the nursing home and the appropriate agencies.
  • Conducting a separate investigation into the suspected abuse or neglect.
  • Giving your loved one forceful, experienced representation in court.
  • Recovering damages for injuries, medical expenses and pain and suffering.
  • Negotiating the maximum settlement possible for your loved one.

We invest the time and resources necessary to assemble every critical piece of your case so that we can secure the most favorable outcome for you. Our experienced lawyers take care of everything so that you and your loved one can concentrate on recovery while we fight to get you justice.

Call The Collins Law Firm Today for a Free Evaluation of Your Nursing Home Abuse Case

If your loved one is being mistreated at a nursing home, we invite you to call us today. With more than 20 years of experience in personal injury cases, including many nursing home neglect and abuse cases, our attorneys know how to prove the wrongful conduct that caused your loved one's injuries and recover full compensation for those injuries.

Contact The Collins Law Firm at (630) 527-1595 (dial extension 221 for Shawn Collins, 226 for Edward Manzke or 236 for John Risvold) for a free evaluation of your case, if you suspect that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. We will not only help you pursue the maximum compensation, but we will ensure your loved one gets the care he or she deserves.

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Client Reviews
★★★★★
Shawn Collins is a very talented lawyer, as are all the attorneys on his team. I've known and worked with Shawn for more that 30 years. Not only is he a top notch technical litigator but his communication skills are second to none. If anyone I know is ever in need of an attorney, Shawn is my very first recommendation. He gives very solid advice that goes beyond the law. He is someone you can trust to tell you the truth so you are not lead astray in the complex legal world. You really can't find a better advocate. E.M.
★★★★★
We were incredibly satisfied with our experience with The Collins Law Firm. We worked closely with Ed Manzke and found that he had a personal touch and truly got to know us in addition to being knowledgeable and effective in his field. The caring and individual attitude helped us tremendously throughout the entire process and we always felt like our case was in safe hands. We would highly recommend The Collins Law Firm for both its stellar work and dedicated employees. M.A.
★★★★★
My father recommended The Collins Law Firm to me after watching Shawn Collins and Ed Manzke at trial representing Lisle residents against Lockformer. For years, he told us courtroom tales about Shawn and Ed, citing their incredible skill as trial lawyers and how they put the huge Lockformer legal team to shame. So when my son was the victim of a wrongful death, they were my first and only choice. I can't say enough to truly express how grateful I am to The Collin's Law Firm for all that they did for me and my family. This amazing team advocated for me in my darkest moments, surpassing my expectations in every way. I will be forever grateful to Shawn and Ed. K.D.
★★★★★
I have worked with Rob, Shawn and The Collins Law Firm team in connection with both complex business transactions and litigation over the past several years. Shawn is far and away the best business litigation attorney I have worked with. Rob has been our lead attorney on M&A and corporate restructures, and he has delivered each time, and on time. I would highly recommend Rob to get the deal done! W.D.
★★★★★
Rob has been our out-side General Counsel for ten years. As a business with a global presence, it is important that we have the very best legal representation. Rob and the team have guided us through litigation battles, negotiating and drafting our important business contracts, and advising us in our business strategies. He has a great team of lawyers working with him. M.F.