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State lawmakers will hold hearings next month on ways to improve safety in Illinois nursing homes after outrage over the high number of felons with mental illness has led to violent crimes, including murder, rape and assault, against innocent residents. The Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers and Chicago nursing home attorneys at Abels & Annes continue to monitor this issue closely — the well being of vulnerable seniors is clearly at stake as dangerous felons and the mentally ill continue to be housed in nursing facilities. The Senate committee hearings Nov. 5 will include testimony from elder advocates, as well as state agencies in charge of nursing home safety, including the departments of human services, family services, health care, aging and public health. The Chicago Tribune reported the hearings are in response to the newspaper’s three-part series detailing the mixing of mentally ill felons with nursing home residents, incomplete background checks, low staffing levels and a breakdown in reporting serious crimes against residents. You can read more about that series on our Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog. “At the end of the day, we need substantive results, and we need to protect our families,” said Sen. William Delgado, D-Chicago, told the Tribune. Gov. Pat Quinn has also convened the Nursing Home Safety Task Force, which held the first of six meetings last week. And Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has called on public health officials to increase inspections, improve data-keeping of alleged crimes and review the criminal histories of all 3,000 felons living in nursing homes. “I want to ask the Public Health Department what (its) plan is to improve enforcement in nursing homes, whether we need legislation or more staff,” she said.Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago. Steans said she has a special interest in the issue because […]

Three employees of a LaSalle County, Illinois nursing home have resigned or been fired after an investigation determined the home failed to protect residents. The home faced two fines stemming from the sexual molestation of several female patents by a resident at the home, according to a report from the Associated Press. While officials would not say who resigned and who was fired, they confirmed the departure of the home’s administrator, director of nursing and director of social services. The Associated Press reported that the home was fined $20,000 by the state and faces another $20,000 fine from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Times in Ottawa, Illinois reported that the Illinois Department of Public Health found the home at fault earlier this year for not protecting at least 10 women from molestation by a male resident of the home. The home’s interim administrator also pointed out that the nursing home’s nutritional consultant works for the firm that provides the home’s food, a possible conflict of interest. Putting a loved one in a nursing home is one of the most difficult tasks many of us will face. Despite every effort to ensure that your loved one is cared for in a safe and secure environment, Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse is an all-too-common occurrence. The state offers a number of resources to those faced with the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home. Click here for information on how to file an Illinois nursing home complaint and for tips on how to select an Illinois nursing home. If you suspect neglect or abuse is occurring in an Illinois nursing home, talking to an Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer can help provide added protection for both a loved one and other […]

Background checks meant to protect Illinois nursing home residents from dangerous felons moving into a home often miss violent crimes, downplay the risk they pose to aging seniors and leave nursing home residents vulnerable to abuse, according to an investigative report by the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes continue to monitor the issue of unqualified employees or residents — including convicted felons — being hired by or housed in Illinois nursing homes and elder care facilities. The average cost of nursing home care in this country hovers around $6,000 per month. Half of the nation’s 18 million nursing home beds are operated by large chains and two-thirds of all nursing homes are for-profit companies. The Tribune investigation found some residents who had a history of violent crime went on to commit assaults or other serious crimes inside the homes where they lived. Illinois became the first state to require background checks for all residents as part of a 2006 law meant to address the growing number of mentally ill felons entering the state’s nursing facilities. The checks are used to screen high-risk individuals who require close monitoring or private living quarters. But the Tribune’s review of 45 recent cases found many instances of incomplete assessments that left out crucial details, including criminal convictions. The report also found long delays in completing the checks — sometimes resulting in felons living among residents for more than a year. And of the more than 3,000 convicted felons living in Illinois nursing homes this summer, less than 30, or 1 percent, were classified as high-risk, which requires homes to place them in single rooms near nurses’ stations. Two-thirds — a total of 2,077 felons — were classified as “low risk,” meaning the nursing homes are […]

The Illinois Department of Public Health has issued a report that found the LaSalle County Nursing home allowed a resident to sexually abuse 10 other residents. Chicago nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes fight for the rights of residents abused in Illinois nursing homes. The report found the home failed to prevent the male resident from abusing 10 female residents and propositioning others, including some who couldn’t speak or suffered from dementia, ABC7 News reported. “When I would leave for a short time he would wait until I was gone for moments and put his hands on, or target the dementia women,” one activities aide testified in the report. “Sometimes he would pull back when I’d return or tell me to get out.” It is disheartening to those who deal with nursing home abuse that in this case staff members apparently were aware of the behavior. Nursing homes have a duty to provide a secure environment free of abuse. The ongoing debate among Illinois lawmakers over the state budget has come with increased scrutiny of proposed cuts to health and human services programing, including resources for the elderly that opponents contend could force even more of our seniors into nursing home care. Additional reductions in state and federal aid will further stress a system in which neglect and abuse is already a distressingly common occurrence. And the aging Baby Boomer population will further stress available resources. Still, with the average monthly cost of a private nursing home stay hovering around $6,000 nationwide — and with more than half of the country’s nursing homes operated by for-profit companies — these facilities have an obligation to provide an environment for seniors that is free of neglect and abuse. Illinois lawmakers have outlined the rights of nursing home residents […]

Family members of nursing home neglect and abuse victims are seeking solace from one another through online social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter , YouTube and MySpace. The Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes continue to monitor the impact of social networking sites on personal injury and wrongful death cases, both in the Chicago area and across the country. While these virtual support groups no doubt provide emotional support for victims’ families, there is also a cautionary note: Information posted on sites like Facebook and MySpace is increasingly finding its way into a courtroom. If you are involved in a case, it is generally not a good idea to discuss it online. A good rule of thumb is to never post anything online that you would be uncomfortable answering for in a courtroom. That said, such virtual support groups are providing meaningful relief for families dealing with the neglect or abuse of a loved one who was entrusted to a professional nursing home or elder care facility. The Minnesota Albert Lea Tribune published a story this weekend about social networking’s impact on a horrific nursing home abuse case in which several teenage girls are accused of sexually abusing and humiliating Alzheimer’s patients in the Good Samaritan Society nursing home. The families of the alleged abuse victims have formed under a group called Families Against Nursing Home Abuse, opening pages on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. They also have videos on YouTube. One writes a blog. At these sites, people can read reactions to elder abuse and get to know the alleged victims of abuse in words and photos. Jan Reshetar, co-founder of the group, said she and the others decided to branch out to these Internet sources to enact changes on the local, state and national […]

A Bensenville nurse’s assistant will face far less time in prison after prosecutor’s dropped half the felony charges against her because of a legal technicality. The 24-year-old woman is accused of improper care at an Itasca nursing home that led to a resident dying after wandering outside in the cold. She faces five years in prison — instead of the original 14– if convicted of the remaining elderly neglect and obstructing justice charges, according to an article in Daily Herald. The Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Abels & Annes monitor such cases to better assist clients who seek to recover damages for nursing home neglect or abuse. The proper supervision of nursing home residents is critical to their well-being and one of the primary reasons loved-ones seek professional care for an aging parent or grandparent. In this case, the accused nursing assistant has remained in jail since March 4. She is accused of failing to check on an 89-year-old resident after an alarm alerted staff that an outside door had opened at The Arbor nursing home in Itasca. Four of the eight charges against her were dropped on Tuesday because of a legal technicality involving the legal wording of the state law regarding nursing homes. Police say she turned off the alarm and went back to watching episodes of “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” according to the newspaper’s account. She also is accused of lying to police about finding the resident in her bed during a 3 a.m. well-being check. The elderly resident, formerly of Chicago’s West Side, was wearing an electronic ankle bracelet because she suffered from dementia and was prone to wandering. Staff found per body in an outside courtyard in near-freezing temperatures. Her daughters have filed a wrongful death suit. The paper reported the nursing […]

A Chicago nursing home faces a lawsuit filed by a Harvard women who claims the home did not do enough to prevent her mother from dying from a fall. Jennifer Bowden of Harvard is suing Sacred Heart Home in Chicago, according to an article in the Northwest Herald. Bowden’s mother, Kathleen Koch, fell in a stairwell at the home and died eight months later at 61 years old. She suffered a broken back, head injuries and paralysis as a result of the fall. The case alleges the staff at the home should have better supervised Koch, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Yet her room was not near a nurses station and she was allowed into the stairwell unsupervised, according to the newspaper’s account of the lawsuit. Sacred Heart Home declined comment on the matter.The aging Baby Bommers and a tight economy, which has led to state and federal cuts in subsidized elder care, are just two of the factors that will continue to put the burden of monitoring the care of a loved one on the shoulders of his or her family. Nationwide, there are 1.8 million nursing home beds in 17,000 facilities. Half are part of large chains and two-thirds are operated for profit, according the federal statistics. The government estimates that almost half (43 percent) of those over 65 in 1990 will spend time in a nursing home. The Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes work to help loved ones determine whether the circumstances of a family members injuries or death in a nursing home rises to the level of neglect or abuse. The Chicago nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes want you to know there are resources available when considering a nursing home: Click […]

The Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Abels & Annes continue to monitor changes in elder care at the state level that could impact the welfare of your loved ones in Illinois nursing homes. The American Association of Retired Persons issued a statement last week decrying the impact of the new state budget on elder care and an Illinois newspaper slammed a court ruling against hiking fines against nursing homes for serious violations of care standards. You heard that right. The state is making drastic cuts to elder care to balance its budget even as its court system ruled it cannot raise fines for abuse and neglect violations to generate income. “By neglecting the needs of hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents, children, families and the elderly, this budget puts our state’s worst foot forward,” said Bob Gallo, state director for the AARP in Illinois. “At a time when people need state programs the most, like those that help people have access to healthcare and relief from high prescription drug costs, this budget pulls the rug out from underneath them.” Among the cuts opposed by the AARP: -Community care programs slated to be cut in half, leaving 26,000 without the care they need to remain in their communities and subjecting them to more costly instituional care, such as nursing homes. -Eliminating the Elder Abuse and Neglect Program — meaning 11,000 cases won’t be investigated. -Closing all four Illinois veteran’s homes. – Cutting home services for the disabled. Meanwhile, the Peoria Journal Star points to a ruling from a Sangamon County Judge earlier this year that limits the Illinois Department of Public Health’s ability to issue fines to $10,000 per incident of abuse or neglect. The paper notes fines were increased under former Gov. Blagojevich and were opposed in […]

The family of a 69-year-old woman has filed a nursing home abuse lawsuit, alledging a Chicago nursing home failed to protect her from being sexually assaulted by a 21-year-old mentally ill resident. The Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Abels & Annes want to remind those faced with placing a loved one under care of a facility to know there are resources available to you. Click here for advice on finding an Illinois nursing home through the Illinois Department of Public Health. And click here for reports of Illinois nursing homes with recent violations. An Associated Press analysis earlier this year found U.S. nursing homes have become a dumping grounds for young and middle-age people with mental illness. And Illinois ranked highest among the states in the number of mentally ill adults under age 65 living in nursing homes — more than 12,000. Elderly abuse and neglect will continue to be an issue as the Baby Boomer population ages. Of those over 65 in 1990, nearly half (43 percent) will spend time in these facilities, according to federal statistics. In this case, the lawsuit accuses Maplewood Care’s administrator of attempting to cover up a rape by calling it consensual sex, according to the Associated Press article. An executive with the home’s parent company, which operates seven other Chicago-area nursing facilities, declined comment according to the Associated Press. The civil lawsuit claims the woman’s family was not told the nursing home had admitted young adult residents “with a history of violent and aggressive criminal behaviors.” The Agency for Health Care Administration reports the average cost of a nursing home in Chicago was $165 a day in 2000 and has steadily increased since then. Nationwide, there are 1.8 million nursing home beds in 17,000 facilities. Nursing home operators have a […]

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers have filed a sexual abuse lawsuit on behalf of a patient who was assaulted by a male nurse while in a coma, according to Fox News. The alleged abuse took place at a Chesapeake, VA nursing home. The lawsuit was filed against the Chesapeake Health and Rehabilitation Center in Norfolk Circuit Court. The suit is asking for $29,000,000 in damages and also names the nurse as a defendant. In November, 2008 the male nurse plead guilty to aggravated sexual battery in criminal court, and last week he was sentenced to 6 months in prison, with an additional 9 1/2 year suspended sentence. The abuse was brought to light when another employee observed the nurse with his mouth on the comatose woman’s breast. Sexual abuse of a nursing home patient can be a family’s worst nightmare. You put your trust into a facility to care for your loved one, and that trust gets violated in the worst way. If your loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect at a Chicago Area nursing home, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at Abels & Annes for a free consultation.

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