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3 factors that make it difficult to report nursing home abuse

If your loved one is in the care of an Illinois nursing home, you play a role in the safety and well-being of that person. 

Someone in this role can be especially crucial if a patient is the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home. Unfortunately, this happens far more often than anyone would hope, as nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to abuse. Further, reporting abuse in this setting can be extremely difficult for at least a few reasons.

  1. A patient's cognitive impairments- As this article notes, many nursing home patients suffer from cognitive impairments, like dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Those with these conditions can suffer confusion or forget about an abusive event. This makes it virtually impossible for them to report abuse. 
  2. Infrequent visits from loved ones - If someone doesn't have visitors or consistent contact with people outside a nursing home, he or she can be a target for abuse or neglect. Not only is there a lower risk of someone noticing and reporting troubling signs of mistreatment, but it can also be easier to normalize such conduct when a person has little or no contact with people outside of the facility.
  3. Verbal, emotional limitations - Elderly patients can experience conditions that make it difficult for them to talk or express themselves. And in some cases, facilities overmedicate patients to keep them subdued or compliant. When people cannot speak up, get upset or otherwise protect themselves, they may not be able to defend against misconduct. If they cannot defend themselves, they may not think they have grounds to file a complaint.

These and other limitations make it very difficult -- if not impossible -- for a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect to report misconduct.

Therefore, loved ones can be the best chance a patient has when it comes to stopping such traumas and holding accountable the abusive parties. If your loved one is in a nursing home, know that you can be a vital protector. You can do this by checking in with that person regularly, keeping an eye out for signs of abuse and taking seriously any abuse or neglect complaints your loved one may have. 

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