Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

August 24, 2015

Surveillance Cameras to be Legal in Illinois Nursing Homes Soon

82415.jpgA movement in several states is starting to take hold to allow the use of cameras inside nursing home patient's rooms in an effort to ensure transparency about the type of care received. Encouraged by advocates and organizations against nursing home abuse, these cameras serve to record the activity that goes on inside a patient's room that otherwise may go unnoticed, whether the conduct is positive or negative.

As the national population continues to age and those in Illinois and across the country place a greater demand on long term care facilities, issues related to their safety gain greater prominence in national debates with many wondering what more could be done. This week, Illinois took a step towards securing greater care for its nursing home residents when Governor Bruce Rauner signed a new law. The law will allow camera placement in nursing home rooms so that family members can monitor the care their loved ones receive.

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August 10, 2015

Medication Errors involving Blood Thinners in Nursing Homes Lead to Hospitalizations, Deaths

81015%283%29.jpgThe vast majority of residents of nursing homes are on some type of prescription medication. Most are on a combination of drugs that help manage pain, reduce inflammation, control chronic illnesses or diseases, or treat acute illnesses. Each nursing home patient is a unique individual with personal needs to be addressed and to be treated, often in a medical context.

There are some commonalities that exist among the nursing home patients that live in Illinois and that reside in the rest of the country, like the need for medication. It is so prevalent that the public often assumes that nursing home residents will receive the medicine that they need and in the time in which it is needed. The reality of the situation is much more complex and complicated as inadequate training, maintaining low staffing levels, and a generalized lack of concern can lead to patients missing medication doses or to having doses administered at an improper time. Medication mistakes is just one form that nursing home abuse and neglect may take regardless of where in the nation it occurs.

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July 15, 2015

Criminal Charges Pending after Cameras Capture Nursing Home Abuse

71615.jpgDebate is raging in much of the country over the use of surveillance videos or hidden cameras in nursing homes. Advocates argue that the cameras can be vitally important in insuring that our most vulnerable citizens receive the care and compassion that they need while they reside in a nursing home and, further, that criminal employees will be held liable if they act against the best interests of a patient. Simultaneously, many nursing home owners and others in the industry have raised concerns about the practice, often couching their dislike for the cameras in others terms, like claiming that the cameras may raise privacy concerns for the patients.

Illinois is one of many states that is currently considering legislation in this area. At present, a bill passed by both state houses awaits the governor's signature to become law and, if signed, will enable the family members of nursing home patients to place cameras in their loved one's rooms. This measure has enjoyed wide-spread support among many in the state, including the attorney general, and is coming at a critical time for nursing home care.

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June 22, 2015

Hidden Camera Captures Assault of Nursing Home Patient by Employee

62215%283%29.jpgIn every state in the nation, debates are raging over how best to protect the vulnerable citizens that are confined to nursing homes from abuse, neglect, and harm that they may face. Some states are enacting laws to increase oversight of these facilities while others are raising minimum standards of acceptability in these homes. In recent years, some states have considered allowing residents to install security cameras - whether hidden or known - in their rooms to record the care they receive.

Debates about the appropriateness of security cameras have taken place in Illinois as well with many supports for the cameras and detractors against them. While not everyone may agree as to the practicality of this surveillance, there is one fact that cannot be denied - every year, cameras capture nursing home abuse and neglect across the country and provide unbiased documentation of the harm that is done. Due to these cameras, some offenders have been held accountable for their actions when they otherwise may not have been. Some facilities have been forced to admit wrongdoing, and some people have even been sentenced criminally for the harm they have inflicted.

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May 20, 2015

Nursing Home Death Sparks Investigation into Abuse Claims

52015.jpgThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1.4 million Americans live in nursing homes. Not only are the lives of these individuals affected by nursing home safety and protocols within the homes but their loved ones, family members, and friends are also impacted by the care that is provided. In Illinois, it is the duty of a nursing home, long-term care facility, and the employees that work in these settings to provide assistance consistent with the standard of care to residents and to treat safety as a paramount concern.

Yet despite the impact that nursing homes have, despite the laws that govern their conduct, and despite the moral duty that employees and owners have to provide adequate care, nursing home abuse and neglect happens every day in American and vulnerable adults are forced to suffer the consequences. It can be difficult to identify when nursing home abuse happens because many victims are unable to alert others to the wrongdoing and many perpetrators are able to conceal their misconduct. If you suspect neglect or harm done to a loved one in a nursing facility, speaking with a personal injury attorney in Illinois may help you realize what rights may exist to protect your loved one and enable him or her to receive the relief that is deserved.

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May 14, 2015

Employee Admits Intentionally Swapping Nursing Home Patients' Prescription Medication

51415%283%29.jpgRight now, 1.4 million Americans live in nursing homes across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That number is continuing to grow every year as the population in America both increases and ages, placing a greater demand on long term care facilities like nursing homes. This has led to an increase in the number of nursing homes across the country and a demand for even more to come. The push for new nursing homes is not solely due to the increased need, though, as the potential for profit has been a significant motivator for many. Currently, more than 68 percent of all nursing homes are owned in a for-profit manner which can lead to substantial profits for those owning such facilities.

With a significant demand for homes, an increasing annual demand, and the potential for substantial profits, some nursing homes in Illinois and in other states have been operating without patient care as their primary motivator. Financial concerns have led some to cut corners or to operate with low staff levels. Others find their employees overworked and unable to meet the standards of care required as a result. No matter the motivation or the excuse, nothing permits nursing home neglect or abuse and such conduct is always improper.

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May 5, 2015

Nursing Home Employee Charged with Sexually Assaulting Elderly Patient

5415%282%29.jpgAccording to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 14 million Americans aged 65 and older have some form of disability. While some of these people are able to live on their own or with family members, many are confined to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to receive the assistance they need on a daily basis. The nursing homes that care for these individuals are charged with providing safe and reasonable assistance to them and they are to act in a manner that benefits the patient. However, nationally, incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect happen on a daily basis and often take the form of misconduct against those residents who are unable to help themselves.

Disabled adults in nursing homes, especially disabled females, face a higher risk of being the victim of abuse in that setting, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. From failing to provide adequate care to physical or sexual abuse, these incidents can be very serious and can leave a victim with injuries. Though this damage cannot be erased, a victim and/or that victim's family members may be entitled to financial compensation for the damages inflicted in the case of nursing home abuse and they may realize that relief by working with a personal injury attorney in Chicago.

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April 24, 2015

Guilty Plea from Nurse's Aide who Failed to Call for Help for Patient

424%283%29.jpgWhen a family member or a loved one is placed in a nursing home, often it is the result of much deliberation and with great consideration to the loved one's condition and needs. In some cases, it may be evident immediately that a person needs nursing assistance around-the-clock, like following a serious accident or a difficult surgery. However, many cases involve elderly Americans progressively moving toward the need for greater and greater help until a family or others can no longer care for that person at home. It is at this time that a nursing home may be utilized.

The need for physical care of an elderly adult is one of the most common reasons that a person ends up as a resident of a nursing home. With this in mind, it is imperative that the employees of these homes abide by all standards and heed all necessary directives regarding the care and treatment of these nursing home patients; failure to do so may be negligent or even reckless and too often leads to injuries sustained by these nursing home residents.

If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligent and abuse, it may seem unthinkable to you because of your trust in the facility and the employees to whom your loved one's car was entrusted. But personal injury attorneys in the Chicago area can tell you that nursing home neglect and abuse happens with regularly across the nation and, unfortunately, Illinois is no exception. While nothing can erase the emotional scarring and the physical damage of these instances, victims and/or their family members may be able to seek and obtain financial compensation for their damages through the use of a civil claim.

An incident in a Long Island nursing home back in 2012 resulted in the death of a female patient and led to charges against nine health care employees who were charged with her care. Recently, one of those employees, a nurse's aide, pleaded guilty for her actions for willfully violating public health laws. The nurse's aide was responsible for monitoring an elderly patient for one hour and was charged with calling for help if necessary. Authorities alleged that the employee noted a decrease in the patient's vital signs, including her breathing and heart rate, but claimed that he defendant failed to take the actions necessary to get help for the woman, who eventually died.

The guilty plea was part of an agreement between the defendant and prosecutors and in exchange for the plea, the woman was sentenced to three years of probation and is banned from working in a care field in the future. Though she pleaded guilty, the defendant did not say why she failed to call for help when the nursing home patient's vital signs began to fall.

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March 26, 2015

Nursing Home Patient Killed in Fall Down Stairs

32615%282%29.jpgMany people who live in Illinois nursing homes are completely dependent upon the employees of those facilities for all their needs of daily life. From getting dressed and bathing to eating and moving around, some residents are so restricted by their ailments that they are unable to care for themselves. This is one of many reasons that individuals may be placed in a nursing home or other long term care facility whether that placement is made by family or by the patient personally.

The employees of Illinois nursing homes are required to provide care appropriate to the needs of those who reside there and failure to do so may be negligent. Once negligence happens, it cannot be undone and any injuries that may result to a resident cannot be erased. However, to ease the suffering of the patient and/or that patient's family, the laws of the state may enable these individuals to seek financial compensation for their suffering through the use of a civil claim for damages brought against all those responsible for the negligence. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Chicago can help victims understand whether they are entitled to relief, and if so, who may be civilly liable for their losses.

An incident in a nursing home in Belleville has been under investigation recently to determine whether criminal wrongdoing was responsible for the death of an elderly woman. According to reports, an 85-year-old woman was pronounced dead after falling down a flight of stairs while unsupervised. An investigation revealed that the woman was strapped into the wheelchair and was staring at a vending machine near the stairwell moments before the fall. Security camera footage reportedly revealed that no one was with the woman and it is not clear why she was by herself. The fall itself was not caught on camera but employees found the woman shortly after the fall and at least one employee failed to report the incident immediately. When questioned later, the employee claimed she was afraid of losing her job if she reported the fall.

A 911 call was made by a different employee who was aware of the situation and emergency crews responded to the home. The woman was declared dead as a result of the fall and allegations persist that the conduct of the staff at the home was unacceptable after that point as well. Through the review of the incident, the local coroner found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and it appears that no criminal charges will be brought at this time.

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February 2, 2015

Employee at 3 Different Elderly Homes Accused of Stealing Medication from Patients

21615%285%29.jpgWhen a resident of a nursing home or long term care facility is prescribed medication to treat an ailment, that resident should receive the medication as prescribed and/or as needed. The family members of these residents should not be forced to worry about whether the medication will be administered properly and the residents themselves should not have to suffer due to delays or missed dosages.

Yet despite the requirements that employees administer drugs appropriately and as scheduled, numerous incidents happen in Illinois every year that involve improper dosing or skipped medication. Illinois is not the only state to suffer from these issues though as it is becoming a problem across the nation. The impact of missed medication can be minor or it can be extreme and in some cases, even fatal. Certain types of medication must be spaced precisely or the consequences can be dire.

In late January, an employee at an Indianapolis nursing home was arrested on suspicion of stealing medication from some residents of the home. Additionally, work records show the employee had regular shifts at two other nursing homes in the city, making her access to patients and their medications vast. Local officials and those with the Drug Enforcement Agency have not disclosed which specific medication were allegedly stolen or whether any patients were harmed as a result.

At the time of her arrest, the employee allegedly had controlled substances on her person that she did not possess a prescription for. She is now facing charges of interfering with medical services and obtaining controlled substances by theft or fraud.

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January 21, 2015

Nursing Home Patient Dead from Hypothermia

12115%284%29.jpgThe residents of a given nursing home in Illinois likely have different medical issues that will need different types and levels of care. Some have their mental faculties and may need assistance only with physical tasks; others may be able-bodied but may need help with mental issues. The wide variety of issues that are found in any given long-term care facility mean that employees and owners of nursing homes must be prepared to take action and assist where and when needed.

When placing a loved one in a nursing home, people often worry about the health of the patient and wonder whether they are making the correct decision. The safety of that resident may be less of a focus as family members trust that licensed facilities will act appropriately and will provide the care their loved one deserves. But unfortunately, that is not always the case and nursing home abuse continues to be problematic in Illinois and in Chicago, leaving victims with physical and mental injuries that may require additional medical care.

When abuse or neglect occur in a nursing home setting or other long-term care facility, those who suffer may be entitled to financial compensation. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Illinois may help you understand your options and whether your loved one has a valid claim if you suspect wrongdoing or malfeasance in a nursing home setting.

In an upsetting incident, police in Ohio have confirmed that a nursing home resident died from hypothermia after she wandered outside this week. The nursing home at issue is located in Sagamore Hills, a city southeast of Cleveland and it reportedly focuses on the care of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

A 94-year-old female moved into the facility in September of 2014 for additional care necessitated by dementia. While the details are not clear at this time, officials believe that the woman was allowed to wander outside at some point on Monday morning when the conditions were cold and that, while she was outside, no one noticed the woman, allowing her to remain in the cold. At approximately 7:30 a.m., the driver of a snow plow dispatched to the area noticed the woman's body in the parking lot of the nursing home facility and alerted his superior who in turn notified the police. Emergency crews responded to the scene and evaluated the woman, who was not breathing, but they were unable to save her and her death has been blamed on hypothermia due to environmental exposure. Reportedly, employees of the facility noticed the woman's absence and found her in the snow shortly after the snowplow operator and before emergency crews arrived.

Local authorities are still reviewing this incident and the nursing home at issue has stated that it will investigate as well in an attempt to determine how the woman left the facility unsupervised and whether an employee or employees were at fault.

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January 12, 2015

Nursing Home Employee Charged with Sexual Abuse of Patient

11215%283%29.jpgVictims of any age and gender can be subjected to sexual abuse and assault, and though it may be surprising to some, the residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities are not immune from this threat. Rather, like many other victims, these residents may be abused because they are vulnerable targets and may not be able to resist or to report the misconduct done to them. Often, one abuser can victimize many in a single nursing home and can cause mental, emotional, and physical damages to these elderly victims.

Nursing home abuse is a tragic epidemic in our country and across the State of Illinois. Many believe that the low level of awareness of this issue coupled with a low coverage rate in the local medias contribute to the lack of knowledge possessed by the public about abuse and neglect in care facilities, which in turn makes it easier for aggressors to prey on their victims. However, it is a crime to harm the elderly and anyone who does so or who is responsible for such conduct may be held liable to the full extent of the law. Medical professionals may lose their licenses and may be charged criminally but in many instances, that is merely the tip of the iceberg as victims or their surviving family members may be entitled to financial payment for their losses. The circumstances surrounding a specific incident vary so it may be helpful to speak with a personal injury lawyer to learn about your options and whether your loved one is entitled to payment if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect.

In a disturbing incident out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a former nurse at a rehabilitation center has been charged with sexually assaulting a non-verbal patient. Police have alleged that the 45-year-old male nurse sexually assaulted a 50-year-old woman in the summer of 2013 and that the woman suffered from extremely limited movement. Officials claim that during the assault, the victim was able to activate a call button, leading another employee to enter the victim's room and witness the assault in progress. This second employee allegedly testified against the suspect at a grand jury proceeding that occurred in late 2014 which led to an indictment and charges of aggravated indecent assault, which are pending at this time.

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January 6, 2015

Former Nursing Home Employee Indicted on Elderly Abuse Charges

122614%283%29.jpgPeople who place their loved ones in nursing homes often agonize about the decision. Which home is right? Who will provide the best care? Is this the step my loved one needs? Few think about whether their loved one will suffer abusive conduct at the hands of those employees and nursing home operators because such actions should be unthinkable. Yet every year, cases of nursing home abuse occur in Illinois and they victimize patients who need help and care but do not receive it.

A large number of nursing home abuse cases go unreported in Illinois because the victims have no means to report their suffering or because victims believe they will not be believed. Even when abuse is suspected by family members, cover ups by the employees and facilities involved may occur and may make it impossible for these people to learn what really happened. More commonly, the incident is not covered up but rather intentionally misreported to family members to downplay the actions of the non-residents involved.

When it seems like there was improper conduct against your loved one, speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Illinois who handles nursing home cases may help you understand what events transpired and whether your family has a valid claim for help.

Tragically, authorities in Tennessee have announced that a former nursing home employee has been indicted on charges of abuse against a 96-year-old resident for whom the defendant provided care. In August of 2014, the defendant allegedly grabbed and twisted the arm of the elderly patient involved before striking the patient repeatedly on the head. The patient had bruising and multiple points of swelling following the incident and suffered pain, according to reports.

Upon discovery of the incident, it was reported to local authorities, who began an investigation. Following that, the former employee was brought before a grand jury on charges of cause and neglect of an elderly person which resulted in an indictment. The employee will now face these charges in a court of law.

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December 22, 2014

Nursing Home Resident Dies After Fall

122214%284%29.jpgThe needs of elderly Americans who reside in nursing homes can vary significantly depending on the nature of the patient and any medical conditions that may exist. Some need help sparingly with rare tasks, like lifting or moving heavy objects or navigating difficult terrain. More commonly, residents need extensive assistance and may require help with all daily activities like bathing, eating, and walking. Regardless of the level of care a patient needs, all residents of Illinois nursing homes should be assured that they will obtain the care they need to leave them safe and secure.

Far too often, though, nursing home neglect occurs and these residents are left in dangerous situations that may cause injuries. Neglect can take many forms and may manifest itself in missed dosages of drugs, failed operating procedures regarding patient care, or even an ignorance of safety concerns. The residents of nursing homes in the state are dependent upon employees and the owners of these homes for help, and when neglect occurs instead of proper care, the residents may suffer. Injuries caused by abuse in a nursing home or neglectful action may lead to the rise of a claim for relief on behalf of the resident who was harmed and/or that resident's family. As the conditions surrounding every incident vary, speaking with a personal injury attorney may help you understand your options and your rights if you suspect malfeasance.

Illinois is not the only state where these claims occur, though, and a recent incident in Minnesota makes that clear. A nursing home resident in a Hastings facility was injured in an incident that led to the resident's death. Reportedly, care instructions regarding the resident stated that the resident was never to be left unattended while out of bed; despite this order, an employee at the home reportedly took the resident to a bathroom, placed the resident on a toilet, and then stepped away to provide the resident some privacy. Reportedly, the employee was away from the resident for about five or six minutes before the employee heard a crash and returned to the bathroom.

During that time, the resident fell from the toilet and was knocked unconscious after striking his or her head. Employees transported the resident to a hospital attached to the nursing home where the resident survived for several days before succumbing to the injuries sustained in the fall.

In response to the death of the resident, the owners of the nursing home reportedly retrained staff on proper care procedures for at-risk patients but that is little comfort for the family of the resident who died in this fall.

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December 12, 2014

New Illinois Law Makes it Easier to Report Nursing Home Abuse

121214%284%29.jpgIs someone you love living in a nursing home in Illinois or elsewhere in the country? Have you ever had a friend, loved one, or family member placed in a nursing home or other type of long term care facility? If you are like millions of Americans, a nursing home has affected the life of someone you love. If it hasn't, chances are it will at some point in the future as the population across the country ages.

Once placed in a nursing home, residents should receive tailored care that they need and deserve to address their unique needs. Whether they need assistance with daily activities or help with eating, no Illinois nursing home resident should have to go with their issues undressed. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse happens every day in homes across the state and often leaves victims with physical and emotional injuries. This disturbing action is illegal and a threat to the entire state but tragically abuse in long term care facilities goes underreported as victims do not have the means or ability to make meaningful complaints in many situations.

If your loved one currently resides in a nursing home, you may not know what signs to watch for that indicate abuse or neglect. Commonly, bruising, bed sores, dehydration, burns, and fear of employees or residents can signal a potential issue but it can be difficult to lean what actually is behind these signs. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Illinois may help you understand the cause of an injury and whether you and your loved one are entitled to relief.

Some have been critical of the steps necessary to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health when nursing home abuse is suspected, but thanks to recent legislation, this process has been streamlined. In August of this year, Governor Quinn signed a new law that enables people with a nursing home complaint to file that complaint online. The belief is that this access will further the goal to have complaints reported as well as simplify the process of managing those complaints from the state's point of view.

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