Articles Posted in Illinois Nursing Homes

As Americans age, we use a larger and larger portion of the overall healthcare services available and provided every year. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently concluded that 49 percent of all health care costs are used by people aged 65 and older. Further, some of the people with the highest overall demands on the healthcare system also are aged 65 and older, an important fact as the Americans with the top five percent of healthcare needs utilize 50 percent of all healthcare provided in this country.

Now, new information is being released that sheds light on one segment of the healthcare provided to citizens who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and it may not all be positive.
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There is no denying that the country as a whole is aging with the Baby Boomers approaching and possibly having reached retirement. As this trend continues over the next 20 years, experts expect the demand placed on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to skyrocket as those older Americans need assistance with their daily lives.

As our nation ages, the number of individuals affected with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease increases as well. Today, estimates indicate that approximately half of all adults over the age of 85 have some form of dementia and nationally, more than five million adults are suffering from signs of the disease.
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If you make the difficult decision to place your loved one in an Illinois nursing home, what concerns should you have? Should you have to worry about their daily activities or the level of care they will receive? What about their safety as they move about the home?

Nursing homes within the state are governed by federal and state laws that require them to provide adequate care to their patients in a safe environment, so in theory, you should not have to worry about your loved one’s care. Unfortunately, though, every day incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect occur around the country that leave victims injured, or in the most extreme cases, even dead. As a result, it is reasonable that family members of nursing home patients stay informed about the daily functions of a home to ensure that their loved one is receiving the best care possible.
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One of the primary concerns that people possess when they place their loved one in a nursing home or other long-term care facility is the level of care that person will receive. Will they get the help they need each day? Will someone assist them with meals? What about when the patient wants to move about the facility?

These are reasonable concerns to address with the staff at any facility you utilize for the care of your elderly relative and may be especially important if your loved one has limited cognitive abilities. With diseases that produce mental confusion, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, the level of care and supervision necessary increases and failure to provide the needed care can have devastating results.
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The overwhelming majority of residents in Illinois nursing homes have at least some degree of physical limitation. Some are unable to dress themselves or bathe themselves on a daily basis. Others struggle with their mobility and may need the assistance of a cane, walker, or wheelchair to ambulate around their facility. And yet others may experience decreased flexibility, strength, and balance that often comes with aging. Whatever the reason behind their issues, it is clear that these people need assistance.

Help with mobility and other issues is one reason that families make the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home or other assisted care facility. And when that family member is placed, people feel reassured that he or she will receive the care that is deserved and needed by employees who are dedicated to providing that service. Tragically, though, every year there are countless incidents across the nation involving a nursing home patient who has fallen or been dropped with many of these causing injuries.
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A 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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The 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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Many 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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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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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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