Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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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December 4, 2014

Nursing Home Employee Charged with Battery of Resident

121214%283%29.jpgThe debate has been raging across most states in the country recently: how can nursing home abuse and neglect be prevented? With an aging population poised to place a greater burden on long term care facilities than ever before, some believe the time to act is now so that policies are in place as soon as possible. In the interim, abuse in nursing homes continues to occur and continues to be drastically underrepresented based on the findings of numerous national studies. This abuse threatens the safety and security of some of the country's most vulnerable citizens and leads to the death of residents in Illinois every year.

But what are family members to do? When a loved one needs around-the-clock care, there are few options but to try and find the best facility to help that person with his or her unique needs. Loved ones should be able to trust the owners and employees of nursing homes to provide the care and assistance required by their family members but too often learn that neglect has taken place. Victims of this abuse and their loved ones cannot erase the damage or wipe the slate clean once an injury occurs but they may be able to obtain relief for their suffering. Speaking to a personal injury lawyer may help you understand your rights and your options if you suspect abuse has harmed a nursing home resident you love.

A former employee at an Evansville, Indiana nursing home recently pleaded guilty to battery after a hidden camera reportedly caught the woman pushing and shoving a resident at the home. Official reports indicate that the resident's husband suspected abuse and decided to place a hidden camera in his wife's room as a result. Reportedly, the battery was captured on film and led to criminal charges against the woman.

As part of the plea deal, the former employee was sentenced to two years of probation. It is unclear whether the nursing home resident was injured or whether she sustained lasting damage as a result of the alleged assault.

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November 21, 2014

Hidden Camera Reportedly Catches Nursing Home Owner Sexually Assaulting Dementia Patient

112114%283%29.jpgElderly Americans are some of the most vulnerable members of our society and they deserve to be protected and cared for in their senior years. Many families with older relatives face the decision of whether to put their loved ones in a nursing home when declining health or a change in circumstances means that an alternative means of care may be necessary. This decision can be agonizing as loved ones consider which home is the best for their family member's needs, but once that person is placed, the need to evaluate a home may slip from their minds.

This is a reasonable approach as many feel that once their loved one is placed in a home, they are confident that appropriate care will be provided. Too often, residents are faced with nursing home abuse and neglect, causing serious or even permanent injuries. This abuse can be hard to determine as many victims are not in a position to report the mistreatment or have no one to report the abuse to as many nursing home patients do not have regular contact with non-employees.

Victims of nursing home abuse in Illinois are entitled to seek relief for their damages and their injuries through the use of a civil claim. In the tragic instance where a patient is killed due to negligence or abuse, the right to seek relief may pass to the victim's surviving family members, though no amount of relief can ever be considered adequate in these cases. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer or a nursing home attorney may help you understand your legal rights if you suspect nursing home abuse or if you believe neglect may be harming your loved one.

Police in Washington arrested the 67-year-old owner of a nursing home after a hidden camera reportedly showed the man sexually assaulting an 83-year-old patient of the home who was stricken with dementia. According to reports, the family members of the victim suspected wrong doing and had the hidden camera placed in the woman's room to monitor the care she received. When the footage was reviewed, the family members contacted police, who initiated charges.

It is not clear what charges are pending against the owner at this time but authorities confirmed that the nursing home at issue housed 12 patients, all of whom were being relocated following the arrest of the owner.

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October 30, 2014

Former Employee Criminally Charged for Stealing Medication from Nursing Home Patients

103014%283%29.jpgWhen a family member or a loved one is in a nursing home, it can be difficult to know whether he or she is receiving the proper care needed for any ailments or injuries. Today, the demand placed on long-term care facilities in Illinois, including nursing homes, has increased from decades' past and will continue to increase as the American population ages. Experts agree that the increased demand on nursing homes may lead to greater nursing home abuse and neglect if homes fail to adapt and change staffing levels in response.

Nursing home abuse happening daily across the nation and Illinois is no example. With trends projected to continue into the future, these incidents of abuse and neglect threaten not only current patients of nursing homes but also those who will reside in homes in the coming years.

When abuse happens and a resident is injured, that victim may be entitled to financial compensation through the use of a civil claim for damages. The right to seek a recovery may pass to the victim's family members or loved ones if a victim loses his or her life, but no amount of compensation will be adequate in these cases. Consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Chicago may help you understand your options, including whether you or your family is entitled to relief, if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect.

A former employee of a nursing home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin has been arrested and charged with possession of narcotics, and officials are trying to determine whether the employee gained access to narcotics through her position at the nursing home. According to officials, employees of the home reported missing medication to local authorities, who responded and spoke with the defendant, who was employed at the home, regarding the drugs. Allegedly, the defendant, a 43-year-old nurse, had narcotics in her possession, admitted to being addicted to the drugs, and admitted that she did not have a prescription for the medication; however, the defendant reportedly denied taking the drugs from the nursing home or from patients there. Following her arrest, the defendant was terminated from her position at the nursing home.

Medication in a nursing home is a critical part of care and treatment and any delay in dosage or skipped administration of medication can lead to a range of injuries from an increase in pain, worsening infection, stroke, heart attack, seizure, or even death. Yet despite these risks, there have been numerous reports of employees taking or withholding medication from nursing home patients across the country in 2014 alone.

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October 17, 2014

Nursing Home Residents Not Tested for Blood Sugar Levels, According to State Officials

1796.jpgIn 2010, there were 787 certified nursing homes in state of Illinois. While that may seem like a large number of facilities, the aging nature of the American population continues to put a greater stress upon the existing homes to take in more residents, whether or not staff levels are adequate to handle the growth. Current projections indicate that the demand on skilled nursing facilities will not decrease for decades to come.

When a loved one or family member is placed in a nursing home, often it is because that individual needs an advanced level of care that cannot be provided at home or by unskilled family members. Trusting a facility to live up to the standard of care demanded of them by state and federal laws, family members may choose to place a loved one in a home. But too often, these vulnerable patients become the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect at the hands of care givers and employees at the facility and they may sustain injuries as a result.

The truth of these instances of abuse and neglect is that elderly, disabled victims often go ignored because they may not be able to express the suffering they experience or they may not have anyone to tell. This can lead to repeat instances of abuse and can increase the severity and intensity of the injuries suffered. When a victim is harmed in a nursing home, that victim and/or the victim's family may be entitled to relief. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand your options, including whether you have a valid claim, if you suspect abuse in a nursing home.

A nursing home in Tallahassee is facing fines totaling $31,000 from the State of Tennessee after an investigation revealed that employees failed to routinely test diabetics at the home. According to reports, 60 of 67 diabetic residents went weeks without receiving all the blood testing they required and officials believe that a lack of supplies was in part to blame. Reportedly, the nursing home did not have emergency protocols in place for the actions required in the event an emergency, including inadequate supplies, occurred.

As a result, numerous residents may not have received the medication they needed and may have suffered as a result. According to some residents, complaints were made to the management of the nursing home but no corrective action occurred.

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October 10, 2014

Federal Sanctions Pending at Nursing Home after Maggot Found in Resident's Wound

20130924_092037.jpgIn most cases, elderly and disabled adults are moved to nursing homes when their need for care exceeds what can be provided at home, by another facility, or by family members. With the need for care being at the forefront of the decision to place a loved one in a home, many family members believe and assume that their loved one's needs will be tended to and that their loved one will get a level of care that is both needed and deserved by the staff at a nursing home.

Unfortunately, in Illinois and in every other state in the country, that is not always what happens. Nursing home abuse and neglect pose a constant threat to those who reside in long term care facilities and to their well-being. When an employee, an owner, or another in a position of authority within a home cuts corners, skips safety protocols, or otherwise puts their own interests before those of a patient, injuries may result. These injuries may be an aggravation to a preexisting condition like an infection or a wound or they may be a new injury like a broken bone or bruising.

It can be difficult to determine whether abuse or neglect has harmed your loved one if your loved one resides in a nursing home because these facilities often try to protect their own interests while hiding the truth. That is one reason that speaking with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand your options if you suspect neglect, including whether your loved one or the members of your family have a valid claim for financial relief.

An incident out of a Maine nursing home has triggered federal sanctions and may lead to other charges, according to local officials. Reports indicate that a male resident with a chest wound indicated that his wound was itching on September 7, 2014. Bandages were removed and the site was inspected by a nurse who reportedly witnessed a maggot on the resident's wound, between the resident's body and where the bandages had been moments earlier. Inspectors believe that employees at the home allowed flies to enter the facility by the use of broken windows and/or opening windows without screens and that one of these flies was able to lay at least one egg on the patient at issue.

Officials with the State of Maine have recommended fines stemming from this incident in the amount of $500 per day that the facility was out of compliance for its use of faulty windows. Since the incident occurred, the facility reportedly has taken steps to replace all faulty widows at issue and to replace all missing screens. It is not clear whether the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will agree to this punishment or will suggest an alternative course of action.

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October 3, 2014

Employee Failed to Report Fall that Caused Broken Hip in Nursing Home Resident

1794.jpgIn 2008, 3.2 million Americans lived in nursing homes across all 50 states. That same year, 900,000 people lived in an assisted living facility. The majority of these residents, 2 out of 3, were female, and 6 out of 7 were aged 65 years or older. These numbers mean that a significant portion of America's elderly population is confined to long term facilities, including nursing homes, and that those people rely upon others for their daily care.

The residents of these homes should not have to worry about whether they will get the medication they need, whether the employees of the home will care for them as they deserve, or whether they will be the victims of abuse. Unfortunately, these are concerns that many, if not most, nursing home patients face on a daily basis. A 2000 study by K. Broyles revealed that 44 percent of long term care facility residents reported being abused and that 95 percent of residents reported either being neglected or seeing another resident neglected.

Nursing home abuse and neglect is continuing daily in Illinois homes and likely will continue as the American population continues to age and place greater demand on long term care facilities. Too often, this abuse goes unreported or unnoticed by those other than the victim, meaning that abusers are free to continue their wrongdoing and victimizing others. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer in the Chicago area may help you understand the implications if you suspect abuse of a family member or a loved one or if have noticed harm.

In New York, a licensed practical nurse has been arrested and charged with a felony count of endangering the welfare of a nursing home resident whom the nurse was caring for at a local nursing home. According to officials, the employee came upon an 89-year-old resident on the floor, moaning in pain in January of 2013. The resident reportedly suffers from Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease and relies on the care provided by the employees at the home for all of her daily needs.

Upon finding the resident, the nurse allegedly did not check the woman's vitals or call for help. Instead, she determined that the resident was uninjured and moved the resident to a wheelchair. Later tests revealed that the resident broke her hip in the incident and was in excruciating pain at the time the nurse moved her.

Protocol required the nurse to inform a superior of the resident's fall and to allow a supervisor to determine whether or not the resident needed medical attention. The criminal charge against the nurse indicates that her actions delayed necessary medical treatment and violated the duty of care she had toward the resident.

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September 29, 2014

Former Aide Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting Nursing Home Resident

1793.jpgThe American population is aging every year with more and more citizens taking advantage of and in need of programs directed towards the elderly and the ill. One common dilemma faced when dealing with an aging adult is the decision of whether to place that person in a full time care facility, like a nursing home. Many wrestle with this decision and even if the decision to place a parent or family member is made, many still struggle with determining what facility will best serve the needs of the person they love.

In an ideal world, nursing homes would all provide the best possible care to every resident in their homes. No one would be neglected or abused and all would receive the treatment and assistance they deserve and need. Unfortunately, that is not the present condition in many nursing homes across the nation and within Illinois and it does not appear that the ideal situation will come to fruition at any point in the near future. Presently, residents are at risk for becoming the victims of nursing home abuse or neglect at the hands of employees, owners, and operators of the facilities in which they live. These victims may suffer from physical trauma or mental abuse and may require treatment for their damages.

It is tragic when one entrusted with the care of an elderly person abuses that trust and neglects that patient. When abuse or neglect occur, it can be difficult for an average Illinois citizen to confirm all the facts surrounding an incident or a series of events that led to an injury. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer in the Chicago area who handles nursing home cases may help you understand the implications of your loved one's care and whether your loved one and/or your family may be entitled to relief.

In Texas, a former nurse's aide who worked at a nursing home pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting one of the patients he was charged with caring for after DNA evidence allegedly confirmed his guilt. According to local authorities, a patient at the nursing home reported that the 46-year-old male defendant sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions and in multiple locations in the nursing home while he was working. The victim, described as a woman in her 60s, reportedly did not come forward initially because she feared that no one would believe her allegations as the employee was well-liked within the nursing home.

According to officials, a July 2012 incident of sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant and against the victim eventually led to criminal charges when the victim was able to provide evidence with the defendant's DNA to local police. When confronted with the allegations, authorities reported that the defendant initially claimed that the victim initiated the contact and that she came on to him. The victim reportedly has limited ability to care for herself and must be helped with movement, bathing, and other daily activities that left her in the care of the nurse's aide.

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September 24, 2014

Hidden Camera Allegedly Reveals Neglect at Nursing Home

099.jpgThe presence of surveillance cameras in nursing homes has been hotly contested across the nation, including in the state of Illinois. Some are in favor of the presence of cameras to provide an accurate recording of the care and conditions provided within a home while others object to the cameras, arguing that a constant recording of all activities is a significant invasion of privacy to residents and their roommates. While the debate rages on, some select states have already taken action to authorize the presence of these cameras.

Illinois is currently considering whether to enact state-wide legislation authorizing the presence of hidden surveillance cameras in individual patient rooms when the patient and/or the patient's family consents. Additionally, if a nursing home resident has a roommate, that roommate must also consent to the camera's presence. Advocates of this legislation believe that the cameras will decrease the incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect within the state of Illinois.

Two employees of a New York state nursing home have been charged with multiple counts of neglect after a hidden camera allegedly revealed a pattern of abuse against a 79-year-old resident. According to local officials in the Buffalo area, two certified nurse's aides from a now-closed Skilled Nursing Facility, failed to follow protocol in their care of a 79-year-old woman who
suffered from Alzheimer's and dementia. The resident reportedly was unable to provide any of her own care and relied entirely upon the employees of the facility for her needs.

The allegations against the former employees include the fact that they failed to use a lift during transfers and when one was used, only one employee worked the lift instead of the required two. During other care-related activities, the patient did not receive from the proper number of employees. The employees at issue are alleged to have falsified documents to comport with standard requirements and to cover the alleged neglect.

State officials reportedly launched an investigation into the incident, during which time the facility placed both nurses on leave. Eventually, the nurses were fired and the facility was closed in early 2013 when a new facility opened and replaced the one at issue. It is not clear whether other victims suffered from care at the facility or whether any other charges may be brought as the investigation continues.

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September 16, 2014

Dozens of Abuse Charges Pending against 3 Nursing Home Employees

20130924_092058.jpgHave you ever faced the decision of whether to put a loved one or a family member in the care of a nursing home in Illinois? If so, you may understand the agony that can accompany the process. Not only must you decide whether to place your loved one, but you must also determine which facility will best care for your loved one in his or her time of need. Even if you have never been faced with such a decision, it is possible that you may at some point in the future.

All nursing homes in Illinois should provide a safe and caring facility where patients receive the treatment they need. Yet unfortunately, that is not always the case. Too often, nursing home residents become victims of abuse and neglect at the hands of the employees and/or owners. This conduct can aggravate preexisting conditions or create new injuries among residents who may have numerous other ailments.

The victims of these incidents can endure substantial pain and suffering in addition to increased medical expenses and other financial losses. Their families can also suffer due to the injuries sustained in a nursing home. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer in Chicago, Illinois may help you understand whether your loved one is entitled to legal relief and, if so, what steps should be taken to protect your loved one's rights.

Three former employees of a nursing home in Kentucky are facing a total of 72 criminal charges including criminal abuse, assault, abusing or neglecting residents, and wanton endangerment of the nursing home patients they previously cared for. At this point, the three defendants have been indicted on these charges and are next expected in court in October.

Few details have been revealed about the alleged abuse at the facility in Brownsville but the charges cover conduct against two suspected victims beginning in 2013.

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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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