While it has been long understood that older adults are vulnerable to mistreatment while residing in long-term care facilities, the Covid-19 pandemic shed a disturbingly bright light on the scope of this problem in the U.S. According to the National Council on Aging, approximately 10 percent of Americans who are over the age of 59 have experienced some form of elder abuse. This approximation is low when compared to other reputable calculations that suggest 5 million older adults suffer from unlawful mistreatment every year.
There are a host of reasons why elder abuse occurs in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. One of the most common reasons why high rates of abuse and neglect persist despite widespread public knowledge of the problem is that understaffing at nursing facilities is endemic and there seems to be no end to the issue in sight. When there aren’t enough professionals on staff to meet residents’ needs, their needs go unmet and staff may take out their frustrations on residents as well.
The Scope of the Understaffing Issue in Illinois
According to a recent USA Today investigation, Illinois nursing homes have the lowest staffing rates in the country. A staggering 91% of nursing home facilities did not meet state and federal staffing guidelines in 2021. Certainly, 2021 was a particularly rough year for staffing concerns due to the pandemic. However, Illinois has long been struggling to provide its nursing home residents with the support they need to lower their risk of being abused and neglected where they reside.
What Can Residents and Loved Ones Do?
Studies suggest that only one out of every 24 elder abuse cases is reported. There are numerous reasons why elder abuse is underreported, including the fact that many older adults are not able to advocate for themselves, while others who are capable of speaking up refrain from doing so out of fear, shame, concerns about retaliation, not wanting to worry their loved ones, and having nowhere else to go.
Speaking up is a powerful and courageous act. But victims don’t have to undertake this act alone. Nor do loved ones need to lay awake at night wondering if their suspicions are correct. By speaking with a client-focused attorney who practices this area of law, you can receive the support you need to make informed choices about your next steps.
Connect with a Dedicated Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today for Free
If you are suffering as a result of abuse or neglect or you suspect that a loved one who resides in a nursing home is being unlawfully mistreated, it is important to speak with an attorney about your situation so that you can receive personalized guidance and assistance. The compassionate team of nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Anesi Ozmon, LTD. is proud to offer confidential, risk-free legal consultations at no cost. We believe that everyone deserves to tell their story and to learn about their rights and options accordingly.
We have been advocating for the rights of injured individuals in Illinois since 1955, so we understand how to discreetly uncover the truth and to get results when those who have grounds upon which to file legal action opt to exercise their rights. To speak with our team, you can call us at (312) 313-5011 or connect with us online today. We look forward to assisting you.