What Is Considered Patient Abuse or Elderly Abuse?

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Intentional or negligent acts by caregivers that result in harm to patients are considered patient abuse or elder abuse. If your loved one experienced elder abuse in a nursing home facility, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you. Your loved one may be entitled to compensation.

Patient abuse is especially upsetting due to the vulnerability of those who trust their caregivers. The person responsible for the elder abuse may face criminal charges. The outcome of their criminal case has no bearing on any civil litigation.

A personal injury lawyer understands the steps necessary for pursuing justice on behalf of abused patients. They can fight for the compensation your loved one needs in order to seek quality medical care and to relocate to a different facility.

In this Article:

What is Elder Abuse?


Understanding the types of abuse that patients face in nursing home facilities requires thinking beyond physical abuse. While this is the most reported type of abuse, physical abuse is just one type of abuse affecting the elderly population and nursing home residents.

Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse

The most common types of patient abuse or elder abuse include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Psychological abuse or emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Neglect

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that patient abuse in nursing homes is a serious problem in the United States. According to the CDC, the statistics that are available are an underrepresentation of actual elder abuse that is occurring due to a lack of reporting.

There are many reasons why nursing home abuse can go unreported. Nursing homes may treat the patient in-house rather than risk a trip to the emergency department. Victims of elder abuse may not report the abuse for fear of retaliation by their abuser.

Abuse can range from cuts and bruises to broken bones and even assault with clear physical signs of the abuse. Financial abuse of the elderly can drain funds they worked for their entire lives and leave them without money for their care.

Nursing homes are known for having a high turnover in staff. This is not your loved one’s problem, and short health care staffing levels should not lead to abuse.

If your loved one suffered abuse that resulted in serious harm, a personal injury lawyer can guide you through the legal process. Justice for your loved one takes time, and your lawyer can keep you informed by providing updates about your case.

When Elder Abuse Results in Death

In some cases, the abuse and neglect results in death. If your close loved one died due to nursing home abuse, you may qualify for a wrongful death claim and lawsuit.

Entrusting your loved one to the care of others is never easy. Learning that they died at the hands of those paid to care for them is troubling. By leaving your case in the hands of a personal injury lawyer, you can focus more on your grief and less on your anger.

Your relationship to the decedent plays a key role in whether you are entitled to a wrongful death claim. Call today for a free case review.

How to Report Abuse in Illinois Long-Term Care Facilities

In Illinois, you can report suspected elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation of older adults living in long-term facilities to several different entities depending on the details of the suspected abuse. If you suspect elder abuse of family members be sure to contact one of these adult protective services resources. You may also consider seeking professional medical advice about the mental health and wellbeing of your family member.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Contact the Regional Ombudsman in the region or county of the long-term care facility. Ombudsmen are not emergency responders. If you believe the individual is in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1 and report it to your local police. The Ombudsman will explain reporting abuse, residents’ rights, and the Ombudsman’s protocol for responding to complaints after establishing contact with the local office.

Illinois Department on Aging Senior HelpLine

Contact the Senior HelpLine. The HelpLine is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST (toll-free: 1-800-252-8966). Dial 711 for deaf and speech-impaired communication.

Illinois Department of Public Health

Contact the Illinois Department of Public Health and submit a complaint online. Their Central Complaint Registry is used to record and investigate complaints for nursing facilities, hospitals and home health agencies.

Healthcare and Family Services Hotline

Contact the Healthcare and Family Services – Hotline information and Residents’ Rights for Residents of Supportive Living Facilities. This complaint hotline is available Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST (toll-free: 1-800-226-0768)

Illinois State Police Medical Fraud Control Unit

Contact the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates long-term care facility complaints related to Medicaid services fraud, abuse and/or neglect when Medicaid money has been involved. To report Medicaid health care fraud, abuse or neglect, call 1-888-557-9503. 

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

The NCEA provides information on how to get help across the United States if you suspect physical harm, verbal abuse, financial exploitation or other types of abuse or neglect of an elderly person in an assisted living facility.

Let the Kryder Law Group, LLC Help You Today

Patient abuse is never acceptable. The Kryder Law Group, LLC is not afraid to take on tough cases involving elder abuse of older adults. Let us negotiate with aggressive insurance companies. If we are unable to settle your case out of court, we are ready to go to trial.

Statute of Limitations on Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Cases

Time is limited for filing your case. The statute of limitations sets strict deadlines for pursuing compensation. Generally, the deadline is two years for both personal injury and wrongful death cases in Illinois, per Illinois Code of Civil Procedure 735 ILCS 5/ and Illinois Code of Civil Procedure 740 ILCS 180/. If you miss the deadline, you may be barred from pursuing civil litigation forever.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

The complexity of personal injury and wrongful death law is why you may want to have a nursing home abuse lawyer in Chicago on your side. It may also be difficult to establish whether your case is in fact considered patient abuse, but a lawyer can help you determine if you may qualify for compensation.

The psychological and emotional effects of the abuse for your loved one may haunt them forever. Losing your loved one to an untimely death can result in enormous stress for you and your family. Your time of grief is no time to deal with insurance companies.

Intentional or negligent acts by caregivers that result in harm can devastate your loved one’s quality of life and possibly end their life. By holding those responsible accountable for their actions, you may prevent the same abuse from happening to another patient.

Call Today for a Free Legal Case Review

Contact us as soon as you can to discuss your case. Reviewing case evidence of elder mistreatment, sexual assault, bodily harm, or other forms of abuse takes time. The sooner we connect with you, the sooner we can start to build your case against those liable for your loved one’s harm.

Never try to negotiate with insurance companies on your own. They are too experienced at what they do. Our personal injury lawyers are well-versed in how insurance companies try to underpay or deny abuse victims compensation. Call The Kryder Law Group, LLC today for your free case evaluation. We serve clients in Chicago and throughout the region.

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