Nursing Home Employee Caught Sleeping on Job, Endangers Patients

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

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

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

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

Fortunately firefighters were able to respond and help the distraught patient before anyone was injured, but this instance could have been deadly if that was not the case. Many residents in nursing homes need assistance around the clock and the absence of help could mean that a resident will not receive medication, may not receive proper nursing checks for oxygen or blood pressure statuses, or even that a resident must take care of themselves instead of receiving help, possibly leading to a fall that could seriously injury or kill the resident.

The home in question has stated that the employee was immediately fired after this instance and police plan to charge the woman with endangering the elderly patients in her care.



It can be difficult to know if your loved one’s injury was caused by abuse or neglect while in a nursing home and it may be beneficial to seek the advice of a nursing home lawyer to help you understand exactly what happened. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we provide all injury victims with a free telephone consultation at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442 and we have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day to take your call. If you believe abuse or neglect has hurt your family member, call us today and let us help you understand your legal options, including whether your loved one may be entitled to a financial recovery.

Prior Blog Entry:

Nursing Home Employee Charged with Sexually Abusing 3 Patients, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published October 21, 2013.


Nursing home residents left alone while attendant slept, Fox 23 News Center, published November 7, 2013.

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