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A camera hidden by a resident’s family realized their fears: neglect and physical and verbal abuse in a Kentucky nursing home. According to the Associated Press and the Lexington Herald-Leader, a family hid a video camera in the victim’s room at Madison Manor in Richmond, KY, after they became suspicious about the woman’s treatment. Unfortunately, the images they captured confirmed their fears: Staff members at the home handled the 84-year-old woman roughly, lifting her from the bed by her wrists and neck; ate her food; left her lying on the floor; and verbally taunted her, once even shaking a fist at her. The victim was pulled out to live in a relative’s home and eventually died a natural death, but investigations revealed “injuries of unknown origin” to 17 other residents of the home. The home and its parent company are now under investigation by the state Attorney General. It’s worth noting that the adult granddaughter of the victim in this case is a social worker with the state child protective services agency. Thanks to her professional training, this woman knew the signs of abuse and what complaints to report to the state regulatory agency in charge. As the Lexington paper’s editorial said, not every resident of a nursing home is lucky enough to have a relative with those skills — or even one who visits enough to notice any problems. It’s sobering to think of how many homes may be hiding this type of abuse, without any concerned relatives to find out the truth. In Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect cases, time truly is of the essence. In my practice as a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer, I have seen several cases where abuse or neglect was spotted too late, after it had already hurt the health of the […]

A Washington, D.C. emergency room doctor told a television news station there that he regularly treats residents of a particular nursing home for life-threatening effects of neglect. The doctor, who remained anonymous, told the capital’s ABC affiliate that he routinely sees patients from the Grant Park Care Center who are in danger of dying from preventable causes, including dehydration, malnutrition, kidney problems and pneumonia. The long-term care ombudsman for D.C., Jerry Kasunic, added unattended wounds to that list. The article reports that Kasunic’s staff has filed more than 100 complaints about the facility, but the city Department of Health has not been able to stop the problems. This anonymous emergency room doctor told the news station that he frequently sees patients from Grant Park in critical condition. Unfortunately, for many older people, “critical condition” isn’t easily overcome. When patients already have serious health problems, malnutrition, dehydration or infection can exacerbate those problems, causing a decline in health that sometimes leads to death. By the time families discover the problem, they may not be able to do much to make a substantial difference in the victim’s health. The article also mentions that the D.C. Department of Health has performed at least two inspections of the nursing home in 2008, both of which turned up substantial evidence of neglect. The department declined to comment for this story, so we do not know why it hasn’t taken action. However, regulatory agencies exist to spot and stop situations like this. If local or federal authorities cannot stop abuse or neglect at a nursing home, victims and families in Illinois can still seek justice through an Illinois nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit. A lawsuit can’t bring back a victim’s health, but it can help victims and their families secure the money they need for […]

Prosecutors in Minnesota filed nursing home abuse charges Dec. 1 against six teenagers who worked part-time at a nursing home in Albert Lea, Minn. The Associated Press reported that the teens, all girls, are charged with groping residents’ breasts and genitals; spitting in their mouths; and verbally taunting them, sometimes until they screamed. All of the victims had Alzheimer’s or dementia, according to the report. Two girls over the age of 18 are charged as adults with assault, abuse of a vulnerable adult, abuse of a vulnerable adult with sexual contact, disorderly conduct and failure to report abuse. Four others who are still juveniles are charged with failure to report abuse. This is the sort of case that’s made to order for criminal charges. However, the prosecutor in the case has come under fire because he isn’t pursing jail time for the two older girls. In fact, he told the AP they would likely get suspended sentences and probation. Perhaps there are circumstances that make probation the right choice, but I hope these girls are held responsible for their actions in a meaningful way. When prosecutors can’t or won’t pursue full criminal charges against perpetrators of nursing home abuse, families in Illinois and other states can also seek justice through the civil courts. You cannot send someone to jail with a Chicago nursing home abuse lawsuit, but you can still hold the perpetrators legally responsible for their actions. A financial judgment can be a strong message and a serious economic burden for a home that has unfairly profited from its abusive practices. It can also ease the family’s own financial burdens substantially, which can be very important if family members had to dip into savings, take a leave of absence from work or make other financial sacrifices to pull a […]

Money is tight everywhere these days, including in the budget of the State of Illinois. Unfortunately, this budget squeeze could have an effect on some of the most vulnerable people in our state: residents of nursing homes. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently ran an article on Illinois state budget cuts across the board, but one particular paragraph caught my eye: In Illinois, State Comptroller Dan Hynes’ office recently announced the state is roughly $4 billion behind in paying nursing homes, state contractors and others, with a roughly 12-week backlog, because cash flow into state coffers has slowed. Earlier in the article, a representative of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois is quoted saying the state owes his organization — alone — nearly $9 million in reimbursements that have not been paid. Without that funding, organizations like nursing homes, hospitals and other human services will have to cut services. Why does this matter to a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer? Because the evidence suggests that funding is an important factor in the quality of care provided by a nursing home or other assisted living facility. Studies show that staffing levels, especially the number of registered nurses at the facility, have an effect on quality of care. And of course, a well-trained staff is relatively expensive. When there are more duties than there are staffers to perform them, tasks are more likely to be forgotten, delayed or intentionally ignored, and staff is more likely to turn over quickly. All of this spells trouble for the residents of nursing homes. Even well-meaning staffers can forget things if they’re truly overwhelmed, leading to nursing home neglect. Staffers who are not so well-meaning can use the lack of oversight in a busy facility to steal from residents, over-medicate them, ignore their needs or worse — all […]

A man is suing the Illinois parent company of his former Iowa nursing home, claiming he was wrongfully discharged and abused by the home. After four months as a resident,

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