Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

September 10, 2014

Illinois Considering Video Cameras in Nursing Homes

old-video-camera-5-756581-m.jpg It is an agonizing decision that many residents in Illinois must face as some point in their lives: whether or not to place a loved one in a nursing home. Many are concerned about the care and attention that will be received if someone they care about is placed in a home but for thousands of elderly and incapacitated Illinois residents every year, moving to a nursing home becomes the best decision. While there, residents should receive the care they both need and deserve due to the nature and extent of their injuries. In some cases, this happens, but in others, nursing home residents become the victims of abuse or neglect while in the home and under the care of the employees and owners in charge of a facility.

When abuse or neglect takes place, a nursing home patient may be injured in the incident. The injuries may be an exacerbation of a preexisting condition or it may be new and caused by the neglect. Conditions including bed sores, infections, broken bones, medication errors, and others may be a sign of abuse of a loved one. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer who represents nursing home victims may help you understand if you or your family has a valid claim following abuse in a facility in Illinois.

While relief may be possible after an incident of abuse or neglect occurs, it is far better to prevent these incidents from ever taking place and from the residents of nursing homes to ever suffer injuries. In an effort to make this happen, legislation has been proposed in Illinois that would allow nursing home patients to use video cameras as a type of surveillance system. The cameras would have to be paid for and maintained by the resident and/or the resident's family and would only be allowed in rooms where a resident consents to the camera's presence. If a resident has a roommate, that roommate would also be required to consent before a camera could be used.

Five other states currently allow this type of remote viewing of nursing home conditions with the belief that employees and others in the home will be held accountable for any abusive actions they take. Further, some people believe that capturing unacceptable conduct on cameras will lead to greater punishments for those who are guilty of abusing elderly residents and will lead to greater transparency when it comes to the care provided by these facilities.

Yet some are concerned that the cameras will require too much sacrifice when compared to any potential good they may provide. The cameras would be intended to function 24 hours a day, meaning that every minute of a resident's life could be on camera. This could lead to concerns about privacy of the resident, resident's guests, and others that may come into and out of the room. Certain privacy concerns are covered by both state and federal law which means that the potential legal complications could be extensive.

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April 2, 2014

Nursing Home Employee Pleads Guilty to Withholding Medication from Resident

20130924_092058.jpg Before placing a loved one in a nursing home, most people consider their options. They look into one or more homes to determine which will provide the care needed by their family member. When the loved one moves into a nursing home, people believe that basic needs of the resident will be met and that the resident will not be harmed while there. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect happens all too often in Illinois, leaving residents injured or even dead as a result.

When abuse or neglect occur in a nursing home and a resident or patient suffers as a result, that victim may be entitled to relief through a civil claim for damages. These claims can enable a victim to recover for damages that occurred, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and the permanency of any injuries. Speaking with a lawyer who handles nursing home cases in Illinois may help you understand whether your loved one is entitled to relief for injuries sustained while in a nursing home.

Nursing home neglect can appear in a number of ways but one common form that has been receiving increased publicity lately is the failure of nursing home employees to provide medication to residents. In some cases, a mistake or error may occur, preventing medication from reaching its intended resident. In others, though, an employee may intentionally withhold medication from a resident, either to punish or harm the resident or so that the employee can use the medication for personal use. Regardless of the reasons behind the actions, withholding medication is a serious threat to the safety of any affected patient and can lead to conditions including a heart attack, stroke, embolism, severe pain, loss of mental faculties, infection, or even death.

A former nursing home employee in New York recently pleaded guilty to withholding medication from a 73-year-old resident who is blind and suffers from Alzheimer's disease. As part of a plea deal, the former employee admitted to violating the state's health laws in a willful manner and was sentenced to a fine and community service. The man was originally charged with four felonies related to the care of two patients of the New York nursing home but those charges were dropped in exchange for the former employee's plea of guilt. Additionally, the man was forced to surrender his nursing license as a result of the charges.

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March 3, 2014

Illinois Nursing Home Employee Admitted Stealing Medication from Home

1793.jpg The vast majority of patients in Illinois nursing homes are on medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, for any number of ailments. These medications must be administered within a specified period of time to keep a nursing home patient from becoming ill or suffering pain. Failing to properly administer medication can lead to any number of complications including heart attack, stroke, infection, pneumonia, or even death.

Withholding medication or providing an improper dose is a form of nursing home abuse or neglect and it can have devastating consequences. Most of the time, nursing home patients receive the care they both need and expect, but unfortunately, every day in Illinois, there are instances where care fails to live up to the standards it should or where patients' needs go unmet. When this happens, a victim of nursing home abuse may be entitled to seek relief against those responsible for their injuries, whether the damages were caused by an employee, an owner, or even an operator of the nursing home. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer who handles nursing home abuse cases can help you understand your legal options and rights following an injury.

A former employee of a Charleston, Illinois nursing home recently pleaded guilty to taking medication from the home for his own personal use. The former employee, a 35-year-old man, admitted to taking pain patches on November 19 and December 2 for his own use though he had no prescription or medical need from them. He admitted to taking a patch for himself in November at the same time he was obtaining one for the benefit of a patient. Reportedly, the man admitted to taking a second pain patch for himself in December.

Criminal charges were brought against the man after the nursing home noted discrepancies in its inventory of pain medication, leading to a plea agreement between the state and the former employee. He must now engage in substance abuse treatment and pay fines with the potential of jail time if the man fails to meet other conditions of the agreed sentence.

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February 24, 2014

Elderly Woman Drugged and Raped in her Senior Living Facility

20130924_092058.jpg No one should have to face abuse from those charged with their care, but unfortunately for many residents of nursing homes, that threat is a constant. Nursing home abuse and neglect is an ongoing, and according to some experts, a growing problem faced by the elderly in this country. Though this threat is widespread, attention to the issue remains slight and many are unaware of the dangers posed to those who enter nursing homes for care and treatment.

When abuse of a nursing home patient occurs, unfortunately nothing can undo the hurt, pain, and injuries that result. However, the laws of every state, including Illinois, allow the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect to seek compensation for their injuries against those who are responsible, whether they are employees, owners or operators of the home. Speaking with an injury lawyer who represents nursing home patients may help you understand whether you or your loved one has a valid claim for recovery.

A terrible instance of sexual abuse has been reported out of Minnesota and allegedly admitted to by the man believed to be responsible. Authorities say that an 89-year-old resident of a senior care facility reported that she was sexually assaulted by a 30-year-old male employee at her home and while in her bed.

The victim reported the incident to other staff members at her home as well as local police but she did not receive treatment. Instead, she was placed in a mental health portion of a local hospital for three days. After her period of time in the hospital, a nurse with the Department of Health looked into the victim's accusation and determined that the woman had in fact been raped and had been denied medical treatment and counseling. According to the woman, she was watching TV in her bed when a male employee came in to give her medication. Among the medication was a narcotic that left the woman in a slightly incoherent state of mind, during which time the employee raped her. When confronted with the accusation, the employee allegedly admitted to both drugging and raping the victim as she claimed. The employee has been criminally charged in the matter and has pleaded not guilty.

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February 14, 2014

9 Face Charges for Nursing Home Death

099.jpg As Americans continue to age, many are forced to turn to nursing homes for help in their elder years, either for short-term stays or for the duration of their lives. While the specific needs of nursing home patients vary, the general need is always the same: patients need help and care and that is what they expect when they become nursing home residents. Often, that care is provided and a resident is treated with respect, either recovering from a short term illness or living out the remainder of their lives with dignity. But too often, nursing home neglect occurs, leaving fragile residents at the mercy of those who are supposed to care for them, often leading to injuries among home residents or even their deaths.

When nursing home abuse or neglect causes a resident to become injured, or worse, to lose his or her life, that resident or the resident's surviving family members may be entitled to relief. Speaking to an injury lawyer in Illinois who has experience handing these types of cases is the best way to learn about what legal options may be available if you suspect nursing home abuse has injured your family member.

Unfortunately, when the worst cases of neglect or abuse happen, a patient can pay the ultimate price. It appears that happened in Long Island recently at the hands of several nursing home employees. Recently, nine of the employees were arrested for their roles in the death of a 72-year-old patient.

Authorities allege that a 72-year-old woman was transported to the nursing home to recover and rehabilitate after a a hospital stay related to breathing problems. With the patient came a doctor's orders that she be hooked up to a ventilator to make sure the woman was receiving enough oxygen. However, according to officials, a nurse failed to read those orders and did not use a ventilator, allowing the 72-year-old woman to suffocate to death over a period of two hours while alarm bells sounded. Reportedly no employees investigated the alarms even though they indicated warnings that the patient was struggling to breathe.

After the death of the woman, authorities allege that eight other employees helped cover up the incident by telling the woman's family that she died of a heart attack and failing to report the death to the proper local authorities. Nine employees have been charged in the incident with one nurse facing charges of criminally negligent homicide.

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January 31, 2014

Director of Nursing Home Pleads Guilty to Care-Related Charges

20130924_092037.jpg Experts believe that nursing home abuse is one of the most underreported forms of abuse in the nation today. Often, the victims of these incidents may have no one to turn to for help or no means to report their alleged abusers, which in some cases allows the abuse or neglect to continue. Both abuse and neglect of nursing home patients have the ability to lead to serious injuries or even to death of the resident which is why it is so important to remove those responsible for the abuse as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, once abuse has occurred, there is nothing that can undo the actions of those responsible. But the laws in Chicago and in Illinois do provide victims with the right to seek relief against those who caused their injuries, including any pain and suffering that had to be endured. Speaking with an injury lawyer who handles nursing home abuse cases is the best way to learn about what legal options may be available if you suspect your loved one has suffered at the hands of a nursing home.

Earlier this week, the former director of nursing at a Tennessee nursing home pleaded guilty to a single count of giving a false statement regarding medical care. The plea was part of a deal reached with prosecutors and the former director, who previously was facing eight counts of the same charge in relation to her position with a nursing home. She will be sentenced in May and faces up to five years in prison plus a fine and supervision for the crime.

The charges were brought after an investigation at the nursing home looking into potential wire fraud, healthcare fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering. During the course of the investigation, the director was charged in relation to the care, or lack of care, received by two residents. Both residents of the nursing home had pressure ulcers, commonly called bedsores, that were not being treated properly. One had a pressure sore that was infected and covered by bandages filled with feces. The other resident had a pressure ulcer so severe that live maggots were found inside of it. Maggots feed only on dead tissue which indicates the serious condition of the ulcer in this case.

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January 6, 2014

Criminal Charges Brought Against Nurses Who Abused Elderly Patient

315.jpg Many families debate what type of care is best for their elderly loved ones. Whether the decision is made to place a family member in a nursing home or assisted facility or whether it is determined that the family member should remain at home, often the care the elderly person will receive is one of the biggest factors in making a decision. Families want their loved ones to receive the best possible care so that all their needs are met. When placing a family member in a nursing home, often families assume that this high level of care is what will be provided.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes nursing homes and their employees are negligent or careless in their actions, leading to a substandard quality of care. In other cases, employees may intentionally harm residents. These cases are very distressing and believed to be wildly underrepresented as many victims are unable to report the abuse.

A recent incident out of San Diego, California reminds everyone with elderly family members that nursing homes are not the only settings in which elder abuse can occur. In that case, the family members of a 98-year-old disabled woman hired nurses to care for the woman in her home. The nurses were licensed and provided from a nursing care company that placed the nurses in the woman's home. Though the nurses were licensed, the company that employed them was unlicensed with the state, unbeknownst to the woman's family members.

While in the care of two male nurses, the family members of the woman became concerned that she was not receiving the level of care that she needed. A camera had been placed in the woman's room some years earlier as a security measure. On the footage reviewed by the family was sexually abuse conduct committed by two male nurses against the patient which occurred daily over a two week period of time.

The family members of the victim brought the incident to the attention of state officials who have since charged both men involved with multiple felonious counts related to the sexual abuse and lack of care they provided to the woman. Six other patients under their care were also provided with substandard treatment, according to the charges pending against the men. One has been arrested and charged and has pleaded not guilty. The other man remains at large but has charges against him. If convicted, each man faces up to 11 years in prison.

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December 26, 2013

Assisted Living Home Fined After Fall Leads to Resident's Death

20130924_092037.jpg Many Americans require medical care at the end stages of their lives, leading some to take residence in a nursing home or assisted living facility. In most cases, these homes provide both the medical care and the day-to-day help needed by the residents as they live out the remainder of their golden years.

These facilities are governed by state and federal rules, regulations, and laws that require a certain standard of care be provided. Failing to provide the minimum level of care can result in fines or a loss of license for a facility. But if an error occurs that is negligent or intentional and a resident suffers as a result, criminal charges can be filed and the victim or the victim's family may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages. A nursing home lawyer can tell you what rights you may have.

Negligence in a nursing home can take many forms and can occur in any place, including Chicago or other areas of Illinois. According to authorities, an incident of neglect recently occurred in an assisted living facility in Wilmington, North Carolina and may have led to the death of a patient.

Early reports indicate that a female patient fell first on April 29 and then again when she fell out of bed on either April 30 or May 1, yet the woman was not taken to a doctor. Rather, she remained at the home until May 2 when she finally received medical attention. At that time, an emergency room doctor determined that the woman suffered a broken neck in a fall though it is not clear which one. The woman died several days later.

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December 13, 2013

Nursing Home Employee Charged with Raping Elderly Patient

1806.jpg Sexual abuse and assault is a criminal offense that can leave a victim with serious, often permanent injuries. Many areas of sexual abuse are recognized and some receive news coverage but one type of sexual abuse that often goes unreported or not publicly discussed is sexual abuse of elderly adults in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities.

Yet some instances are still reported, reminding the public that loved ones are not necessarily safe simply because they are in the care of a home or facility. Nursing homes are only as safe as they are made by the staff employed there and the owners of the home. Many homes work understaffed or with staff that is not properly trained either due to a labor shortage or as a means to increase profits. Yet other homes have been known to hire individuals with undesirable backgrounds and allow them to work with the most vulnerable of residents.

It is unclear whether an Ohio nursing home should have known of a problem with a 22-year-old employee before he was hired, but now, it appears that the man should never have been around elderly patients. A grand jury just indicted the man, formerly an employee at a Deer Park nursing home, for sexually assaulting a 92-year-old female patient at the home where he worked in late November. According to officials associated with the case, another employee entered the woman's room and noticed signs of sexual assault. The defendant was in the room's private bathroom and was the only person besides the 92-year-old victim present.

The physical and mental state of the victim before the alleged abuse are not known at this time, but often the victims of nursing home abuse are unable to defend themselves or unable to report the mistreatment. This makes them easy targets for all types of physical and mental abuse as perpetrators are known to seek jobs where they have easy access to their victims.

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December 6, 2013

Nursing Home Employee Accused of Withholding Vital Medicine from Patient

099.jpg Employees at nursing homes in Illinois and other states have many jobs. They may be required to help a patient move from a bed to a wheelchair and back. They may be required to help serve meals or to help disabled patients eat. Others are in charge of distributing medication to the nursing home residents, many of whom have complex dosing requirements and need medication as specified intervals.

The families of those nursing home residents like to believe that the employees and owners of the nursing homes are making sure that all residents are properly cared for and that their basic needs are met daily. Yet too often, stories emerge making it clear that this is not the case. In Chicago nursing homes and others across the nation, some employees are skipping critical care steps, ignoring patient needs, or otherwise acting negligently while performing their jobs. This is leading to serious incidents that leave the nursing home patients injured, or in extreme cases, dead.

It appears that an employee of a New York nursing home may have done just that, skipping a medication round that one of the residents desperately needed. Authorities have brought charges against the female employee alleging that she failed to give prescribed medication to a patient and that she forged documents to cover up her actions. Further claims indicate that the same employee may have skipped blood glucose screening on at least four residents which is needed to determine the proper dose of medication received by each.

The employee has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is currently awaiting trial in New York.

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November 20, 2013

Employee Terminated after Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Resident

20130924_092037.jpg Society's elderly citizens deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and care as they live out their golden years, often with the need of medical and physical assistance from others, including regular doctor's visits, nursing care, and help with daily tasks like bathing and dressing. When the need for this help becomes too great for a family to bear, often the decision is made to place an aging family member in a nursing home where he or she can receive around the clock attention from skilled employees.

This decision should be one that leaves a family with peace of mind, knowing that their loved one is being watched and cared for at every turn. But nursing home lawyers know too well that this is not always the case. Some homes operate understaffed and overburdened which leads to some residents not receiving the care they deserve.

Of all of the ways in which a nursing home resident may become injured, the most disturbing events stem from the negligence, ill will, or disregard shown by an employee to that resident. This may result in bed sores from failing to move the patient, fractures from failing to properly transfer a patient, or cuts and bruises from a patient falling while unsupervised.

One thing a nursing home resident should never have to worry about is being the victim of a sexual assault while in the care of home employees, yet it appears that such an instance recently happened at a nursing home in Maine.

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November 8, 2013

Nursing Home Employee Caught Sleeping on Job, Endangers Patients

1795.jpg The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be very difficult for many who want to care for the loved one themselves but who realize that an advanced degree of skilled nursing care is needed. With the aging population in Illinois and across the nation, this issue will only become larger in the years to come.

Nursing homes should be held to a high standard of care with any deviation from state and federal laws being unacceptable by those working in the home, owning the home, and inspecting the home. But in reality, the quality of care received by residents varies widely, with some homes providing excellent care and others engaging in practices that can only be described as abuse and neglect of the elderly.

Injury lawyers regularly hear stories about suspected abuse of an elderly family member who is confined to a nursing home. These cases tend to be particularly disturbing as many residents are unable to care for themselves and therefore are entirely dependent upon home employees for their basic needs, including nutrition, personal care, and mobility. Still more troubling are the instances that emerge where vulnerable elderly residents were neglected because a physical or mental condition made it easy, like ignoring dementia patients or failing to move the physically disabled.

A disturbing report has emerged from a New York area nursing home claiming gross neglect and endangerment by one of the employees. Police believe that a patient at the home awoke yesterday morning and became frightened when she could not find an employee to help her, prompting the elderly woman to pull the fire alarm to seek help. When police and emergency personnel responded, they also could not find an employee who was in charge of the home. Through a thorough search of the building, a female employee was eventually located asleep in a recreation room. A search of her purse revealed sleeping pills and officials believe she took some of the pills while she should have been supervising the residents.

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