A central Illinois jury has awarded $5.2 million to a nurse who alleges she was fired from her job at a nursing home after reporting abuse. The nurse claims she was let go because she refused to follow the nursing home director’s orders to increase dosages of anti-anxiety medication to agitated residents and would not change or omit records of suspicious injuries. For her unwillingness to compromise, the nurse was not only awarded back wages, but $5 million in punitive damages.
The ruling holds out the hope that employees that witness abuse or neglect in a nursing home setting will also stand their ground by reporting inappropriate practices at their places of employment and refusing to be part of the problem of nursing home abuse and neglect. The allegations should also remind families that family members in nursing homes are vulnerable to abuse and neglect at the hands of staff or other residents, and sometimes even those in charge may be complicit.
If you suspect that an elderly loved one is being abused, do not hesitate to call law enforcement if you believe your family member is in danger. In other cases of suspected abuse, you should contact the nursing home to make them aware of the abusive behavior on the part of employees or other residents, because they may not be aware that it is occurring and may be able to put a stop to it. You should also make your family member’s doctor aware so that they can help you identify signs and substantiate your claims.
It is recommended that you also follow up with your complaint in writing to assure there is a record of your grievance. Be detailed in your account, providing names, evidence you believe may have be attributed to abuse such as a change in behavior, suspicious injuries or medical conditions, keeping a copy for your records.
Per your contract with the nursing home facility, as part of the established grievance policy, you may be contacted by a representative for more information regarding your concerns and, following an investigation, you will receive results of the facility’s findings and further actions you may take. If you are not satisfied with the results of the investigation, you may also register a complaint with your local Adult Protective Services agency who will initiate an investigation of their own.
Iowa Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect lawyers
Sometimes family members may decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home facility for negligence and abuse. If a person’s medication or medical treatment is in question, you may also have a medical malpractice claim. An experienced elder abuse attorney can assist you in protecting your loved one. They have specific knowledge of state and federal laws that may be applicable to your situation. They will assist you with gathering the information and documents to support the allegations of abuse or neglect so the nursing home and their employees are held accountable and seek compensation on your loved ones behalf. Contact the Des Moines Iowa Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect lawyers at the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help today at 515-283-2116.
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