Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

111815What does nursing home abuse look like? It might sound like a simple question to ask, but the answer is anything but easy. Nursing home abuse can take many different forms and can present itself in unique ways, making it challenging for the loved ones of patients to recognize any malfeasance. In some instances, abuse may be physical and may leave bruising or broken bones. In other instances, nursing home patients may suffer from malnutrition because of a lack of appropriate care.

Delayed treatment or the failure to address problems in nursing home patients can be another sign of abuse or neglect in these facilities. In Illinois, the Nursing Home Care Act requires that all facilities providing nursing home services give the proper treatment to those in their care. If an injury takes place, an infection sets in, or a medical condition worsens, the Nursing Home Care Act may require employees and owners of a nursing home to address those issues and to ensure that a resident is being provided for. Failing to do so may lead to legal liability and may cause greater harm to the patient.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Nursing home residents are members of a vulnerable population. Some are unable to care for themselves physically and others are unable to communicate their needs. Unfortunately their vulnerable status means that these residents can be an easy target of abuse and neglect by employees of nursing homes.

Regularly, cases emerge across the nation highlighting the abuses that occur in these homes. Last year one such case came from Oklahoma where the daughters of a nursing home resident installed a security camera in their mother’s room. The camera recorded an employee roughly handling the resident, striking her, and generally abusing her. Once her daughters had evidence of the abuse, they reported the employee who was fired and arrested on criminal charges. Wheelchair.jpg

The current state of the law in Oklahoma allows each nursing home to decide whether they will allow residents to use cameras in their rooms. However a new bill before the Oklahoma senate would allow residents the use of cameras regardless of the policies of individual nursing homes.

Many advocates of nursing home safety have championed this bill and hope to see it pass but recently a new amended has been added that could drastically change the impact of the law.

The amendment would require any resident to first notify a nursing home and obtain permission before installing a hidden camera. Any resident installing such a camera without permission would face a fine or even jail time if caught. Advocates claim that knowing where cameras are and are not located will allow negligent conduct by employees to focus on residents who are unprotected by the cameras, thus reducing or even eliminating the safety that the bill would otherwise provide.

It is unclear how the state senate will vote on the bill with the proposed amendment but a vote could happen soon.

As an Illinois nursing home lawyer, I am regularly contacted by nursing home residents and their families after abuse and neglect occur. Many times it seems that the employees of these homes have no fear of consequences for their actions because the employees are not disciplined at work and it can be very difficult to prove abuse in a civil case.

The use of hidden security cameras would take a “he said, she said” claim and support one side or the other with evidence. It also might help reduce cases of abuse within the state, something that all citizens should support.
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1334532_ambulance.jpg A horrific incident in Texas this week highlights the potential for abuse that thousands of Illinois nursing home residents face every day at the hands of those entrusted with their care. This recent incident occurred in Kaufman County, Texas where an 88-year-old nursing home resident was severely abused by an employee of the home.

The woman, who is wheelchair-bound and has Alzheimer’s, sustained a large and serious cut across much of her forehead that her family saw one day upon a visit. No one in the home has been willing to explain how or why the cut happened but the victim’s face and forehead also has significant bruising across her forehead, eyelid, check, and side of her face. A family member of the victim has released very disturbing photos that depict the injuries she sustained.

Family members reported the injury to local police who began an investigation into the incident. On Tuesday night, an employee of the nursing home was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault causing injury to an elderly person. Police say that the man was caring for the victim at the time she sustained the injuries and when he was questioned, the man tried to conceal the incident and tried to blame another employee. He is currently being held in jail.

The victim in this incident has been removed from the nursing home and transported to a local hospital where she is being treated and cared for by physicians. The nursing home in question has been cited and fined at least twice in the past, once in 2011 and once in 2012, for providing sub-standard care to its residents. Another complaint of verbal and mental abuse lodged by a resident against an employee was substantiated in 2012 but the home was not fined as the blame was placed on a single employee who violated the policies of the nursing home.

Elder abuse in nursing homes like that described in this incident occur across the state of Illinois and result in numerous injuries to residents every year. Families of elderly people in need of care put their trust in nursing homes and believe their loved ones will be treated with care, but unfortunately not every facility does so. Though it may be the action of one or more individual employees that cause harm to a patient, the nursing home itself may be responsible for hiring an unqualified or incapable employee or for creating an environment where neglect and abuse are allowed to occur.
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1392509_rainbow_flag%20sxchu%20username%20Ayla87.jpgAccording to research conducted by Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE), homosexual senior citizens are more likely to age alone, less likely to have children, and less likely to utilize available elder care services than their heterosexual counterparts. Such individuals are purportedly often afraid of being discriminated against or victimized once they disclose their sexual orientation to health care providers. Sadly, many homosexual seniors also fear being mistreated in a long-term residential care setting.

In SAGE’s report, the organization claims that elderly members of the LGBT community are at a higher risk for abuse and neglect from hostile nursing home staff members and fellow residents than other individuals. In addition, many long-term care facilities reportedly refuse to allow same-sex partners to share a room. The report also claims that because many skilled nursing facility employees are not equipped to address hostility from other patients, homosexual residents are often moved to inappropriate wards or isolation.

An online survey of 769 people that was conducted between October 2009 and June 2010 reportedly fund that most individuals surveyed do not feel that LGBT seniors can safely be open about their sexual orientation with nursing home or long-term care facility staff. Additionally, at least 500 respondents expressed concern over being isolated or discriminated against and 43 percent described instances of mistreatment at a skilled nursing facility that directly resulted from an individual’s sexual orientation. Such mistreatment purportedly included verbal abuse, refused admission, attempts to discharge, and restriction of visitors.

Long-term care facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds are required to adhere to the provisions of the federal Nursing Home Care Act. The Act provides all nursing home residents with the right to choose their own physician, the right to privacy, the right to be free from abuse and unnecessary restraint, the right to receive any visitor they choose, and the right to voice complaints regarding the quality of care provided by a facility. The Illinois Act on the Aging was also created in order to protect the rights of senior citizens, including nursing home residents.

Nursing home abuse is not always easy to identify. Skilled nursing facility residents may experience emotional abuse and distress as well as physical harm. When a patient’s rights are violated, he or she may become depressed, attempt to alert friends and family members to the situation, exhibit a loss of appetite, and withdraw. Signs of physical abuse can include unexplained bruises, bedsores, broken bones, and an increased number of accidents. Any suspected instances of nursing home abuse or neglect should be taken seriously and reported immediately.
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