How to Report Elder Abuse in Illinois
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect - July 24, 2013
Protecting the Vulnerable From Abuse and Neglect
If you have witnessed the abuse of an elderly person or are concerned that someone you know is being abused or neglected, report it to the Elder Abuse Hotline in Illinois at (866) 800-1409. Then, call a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney for legal assistance.
Elder abuse is a heinous act that endangers lives. The attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates will work to hold the abusive facility or caregiver responsible for their actions and prevent other elderly people from being abused.
Call (800) 985-1819 for more information. In the meantime, keep reading to learn how to report abuse and what to look for if you suspect that your loved one is suffering.
How to Report Elder Abuse
To report suspected abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of an elderly person age 60 or older, call the statewide, 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline: (866) 800-1409.
If you’re calling on behalf of an elderly person who lives in a nursing facility, call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Complaint Hotline: (800) 252-4343.
If you’re calling on behalf of an elderly person who lives in a Supportive Living Facility (SLF), call the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services SLF Complaint Hotline: (800) 226-0768.
Whichever number you call, prepare to answer the following questions:
- Victim’s name, address, telephone number, sex, age, and general condition
- Abuser’s name, sex, age, and relationship to victim
- Circumstances that led you to suspect abuse or neglect
- Whether or not the alleged victim is in immediate danger
- Your name, telephone number, and profession
- All information relevant to the incident or concern
Federal regulation prohibits Medicare and Medicaid nursing facilities from employing individuals found guilty of abusing, neglecting, or mistreating residents by a court of law. It also prohibits the employment of those who have had a finding entered into the State nurse aide registry concerning abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of residents or misappropriation of their property.
Click here to search the Illinois State Nurse Aide Registry.
A Pervasive Problem
If a nursing home employee has been convicted of abuse in the past, federal law mandates that the employee is no longer fit to work in a nursing home in the future. However, simply performing background checks does not always guarantee that an employee is fit to care for nursing home residents.
In a 2009 study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, 92% of the 256 nursing facilities surveyed employed one or more individuals with at least one criminal conviction.
Eighty-four percent of employees with criminal convictions had their most recent conviction prior to their beginning date of employment.
Possible Signs of Abuse & Abusive Caregivers
Before we discuss some common indications of elder abuse, it’s important to note that not every case will look the same. Abuse can take many forms and isn’t always obvious, especially if you don’t see the elderly victim very often.
However, there are common warning signs that you should look out for, regardless of whether or not you suspect abuse. Watch out for strange, sudden changes to an elderly person’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being.
Remember, these will look different from person to person, but specific signs may include:
- Unexplained injuries such as cuts, burns, or bruises
- Appears dirty, underfed, underweight, over or under-medicated, or not receiving care for medical problems
- Has bed sores or other preventable conditions
- Symptoms of anxiety, depression, or confusion, such as being more withdrawn than usual
- Recent changes in banking or spending patterns (unexplained transactions, loss of money, etc.)
Your loved one’s symptoms aren’t the only thing you should look out for. Many times, recognizing elder abuse comes down to identifying signs of abusive caregivers.
You and your family should look out for the following abusive behaviors among nurses, aides, and anyone else who has the responsibility of caring for your loved one:
- Giving conflicting or confusing explanations of an elderly person’s physical injuries
- Having a history of criminal behavior, domestic abuse, mental illness, or substance abuse
- Prohibiting the elderly person from spending time alone with visitors
- Showing indifference, anger, or aggression toward your loved one
- Addressing the elderly person with demeaning or condescending language
- Using flirtatious or inappropriate language with or around the elderly person
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, call the Elder Abuse Hotline in Illinois, as well as an attorney. Nursing homes and residential facilities often retain formidable legal counsel, and many times these facilities do anything in their power to staunch complaints and prevent their institution from looking bad.
If you suspect your loved one is suffering abuse at the hand of their caregiver, call our Chicago nursing home abuse attorney at (800) 985-1819.
Illinois Elder Abuse Hotline
The voices of the neglected and abused in our communities often go unheard. The Elder Abuse Hotline in Illinois serves as an outlet for these innocent victims.
To report suspected abuse, exploitation, or neglect of a senior, call 1-866-800-1409. This number is a 24-hour Adult Protective Services hotline.
If you are calling on behalf of a resident who lives in a nursing facility, call 1-800-252-4343. This number will direct you to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Nursing Home Complaint Hotline.