COVID-19 in Nursing Homes - Learn More.

Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

Two cases were recently brought to the Supreme Court of the United States to determine whether state court decisions to allow descendants of nursing home residents bring wrongful death lawsuits against the nursing home, when arbitration agreements were in effect, were valid. The Supreme Court declined to overturn the state court decisions to allow the family of the victims to bring suit.

According to McKnights, the nursing home position was that the family members bringing the wrongful death lawsuits could not rightfully sue because arbitration agreements written into (and signed off on by the parties) the contract were binding and parties to the contract could not sue in connection with the contract.

In the first court case, which was in front of the Illinois Supreme Court, the daughter of a nursing home resident brought a lawsuit after she believed her mother’s death was caused by the nursing home’s actions. The nursing home claimed that the daughter could not bring the lawsuit because she had signed the arbitration agreement in the contract. The state court found that since the daughter signed on behalf of her mother, as her representative that she was not actually a party to the contract (because her mother has and she was just acting on her behalf) and that the daughter could bring a lawsuit on her own behalf as a family member of the victim of wrongful death.

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys just helped the victim of nursing home neglect recover $842,801 in damages from the nursing home responsible for the neglect and for the victim’s injuries. The nursing home is located on South Kenwood in Chicago and was known as Kenwood Healthcare Center at the time the victim was a resident, but now the facility at this address is known as Parkshore Estates.

The victim of the nursing home neglect slipped and fell back in December of 2008 while she was a resident at the nursing home. The nursing home was found liable for her injuries because when she was initially admitted to the nursing home she was able to move around on her own with a walker, then she fell and broke her hip because the nursing home failed to take the necessary safety precautions to insure that the resident did not suffer an avoidable fail. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys proved that nursing home did not take all necessary precautions to protect their residents from slips and falls.

Broken hips injuries at nursing homes are a very serious problem and can often be very severe for the resident injured. Elderly people typically have a more difficult time recovering from a broken hip, and the recovery process is very long and grueling, including surgery and a long recovery time. For residents that were previously mobile, being immobile for many months to recover from a broken hip can lead to an overall decline in the resident’s well being as well as their overall demeanor. Often times recovery for broken hips can lead to further medical complications and issues in these elderly patients.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the family of a 90-year-old Alzheimer’s patient has filed suit against a northwest suburban nursing home for poor care after they discovered that the home allowed 57 maggots to grow inside of the resident’s ear. Specifically, the lawsuit claims that the elderly patient suffered severe injuries, elder abuse, and neglect because the home failed to provide a reasonable standard of professional care as required under the Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Act. The nursing home, meanwhile, denies any wrongdoing and calls the incident a “freak occurrence.”

This horrifying ordeal began on September 16th when a nurse at the home spotted a maggot in the Alzheimer patient’s ear while she was caring for her. The patient was rushed to the hospital where the patient’s daughter stood by in the emergency room and watched as 57 maggots were extracted from her mother’s left ear. The attorney representing the family stated that that maggots extracted from this patient’s ear were roughly three days old. This is not the first time that this patient’s family became concerned with the standard of care given to their mother at this northwestern suburban facility. They previously filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health whose investigation in October found no violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act establishes the rights of residents of nursing home and other elder care facilities. It also provides the responsibilities of these facilities to protect their residents from nursing home abuse and neglect. Under the Act, all residents have the right to; remain free from abuse and neglect, to manage their own financial affairs, to wear their own clothes and keep personal belongings in their rooms, to refuse treatment, to be free from restraints, and to have visitors. For the full list of rights afforded to nursing home residents and the responsibilities of the facilities that care for them, click here to view the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act in its entirety.

Over the years, a lot of attention has been placed on keeping children safely in their cribs, shouldn’t the same attention be paid to our nations vulnerable elderly? If you believe that it should, our nursing home negligence lawyers urge you to sign a petition sponsored by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. This petition will tell government agencies that the elderly deserve protection from dangerous bed rails.

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care states that bed rails are used often in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and private homes, among other locations where the elderly reside. Sadly, these rails have caused strangulation and asphyxiation to thousands of the elderly using them. In fact, the New York Times reported on data compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission about this issue. This data showed that between the period of 2003 through May 2012, 150 elderly adults died after becoming trapped in bed rails. Over the same period, 36,000 patients, nearly 4,000 a year were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to bed rails. Additionally, officials at the Food and Drug Administration believe that this data most likely understated the issue because bed rails are often not listed as a cause of injury in emergency rooms, or as a cause of death by nursing homes and coroners.

The petition from the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is addressed to both the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Food and Drug Administration. It calls for these organizations to develop regulations to prevent these avoidable injuries and deaths to our nations elderly. The petition calls upon these organizations to develop mandatory safety rules for bed rails to resolve any jurisdictional issues between the agencies. This last portion simply asks the two agencies to work together, or to delegate the responsibility for these safety regulations to one agency or the other. Too often, government agencies argue over who has the authority to develop necessary safety rules, instead of getting to the real heart of the issues, thus delaying necessary regulations. If you believe that our nations elderly should be protected from these dangerous bed rails, please consider signing the petition. Your signature will help send a message to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Food and Drug Administration that we need uniform regulations to protect the elderly from bed rails that can injure or kill them.

All residents of nursing homes and their loved ones should be aware of residents’ rights under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (“the Act”). Aside from the rights afforded by Federal laws, the Act provides for the safety and rights of nursing home residents in Illinois. The Act applies to all long-terms care facilities in Illinois. Under the Act, long-term care facility is defined as a “private home, institution, building, residence or any other place, whether operated for profit or not, or a county home for the infirm and chronically ill…which provides, through its ownership or management, personal care, sheltered care, or nursing for three or more persons, not related to the applicant or owner by blood or marriage.” If you do live in a location that falls under the Act, you are therefore entitled to certain rights that you should be aware of. These include but are not limited to; being free from abuse and neglect, managing you own finances, wearing your own clothes and keep personal belongings in your room, being cared for by your own doctor at your own expense, accessing all medical records related to your care, to being free from restraints unless ordered by a doctor. For a longer list of your rights, please click here.

It is important for you and your loved ones to review the Act and become familiar with your rights as a nursing home resident. Too often residents in nursing homes are ill cared for and neglected. The Act ensures that your rights will be protected. If a nursing home violates one of the rights afforded to you by the Act, you may be entitled to a legal remedy.

Since 1992, Levin & Perconti has fought for the rights of nursing home residents and understands just how important these rights are to residents and their families. Our founding partners, Steve Levin and John Perconti, were among the first lawyers in the entire country to represent nursing home residents and have earned national recognition for their work on behalf of residents.

When an assisted living facility opens its doors to residents, it takes on the responsibility of caring for those residents and ensuring that their needs are met. More eloquently put by Chicago personal injury attorney Steven Levin, by virtue of accepting patients, every nursing home has a “duty to supervise [and] provide safe living conditions for each of its residents.”

However, that may not be what happened in a recent devastating incident at Northlake, Illinois’ Concord Place Retirement & Assisted Living Community; the daughter of a former resident the nursing facility has retained our Chicago personal injury lawyers to investigate her father’s death at the home on July 5, 2012.

The 60 year-old man was found unresponsive on the facility’s rooftop greenhouse, four days after the facility was fully evacuated due to a power outage caused by storms during a severe heat wave. Said Levin, “None of the staff knew where he was for at least four hours before his body was discovered. We will begin a thorough investigation of all records and police reports to uncover the circumstances surrounding William’s tragic death.”

When families entrust the care of their loved ones to nursing homes, part of the duty that the facilities take on is a responsibility to supervise each patient and respond to his or her needs appropriately.

A devastating report by the Associated Press revealed that an 87 year-old nursing home resident was killed last week as a result of injuries sustained in a hit-and-run automobile accident that occurred just outside of her nursing home.

Good Samaritan Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a Midwest-centered facility with branches in Illinois, was in charge of the woman’s care. Apparently the woman’s family had recently placed her in the home due to declining health, and, because she was unhappy being at the home, she was attempting her escape when the car hit her.

It’s at the same time good news as well as a word of caution. MSNBC reports that Americans are more likely than ever to reach age 90. Although it’s wonderful that healthcare has improved to the point at which people are able to reach such a remarkable milestone, our Chicago personal injury lawyers are concerned for the wellbeing of the elderly as a result of gross violations and negligence that occur every single day in Illinois nursing homes.

The most recent census figures indicate that the population of 90-plus year-olds has nearly tripled in size since 1980, and now totals 1.9 million people across the country. At it’s current rate of growth, the 90-plus population is one of the nation’s fastest growing groups, and is projected to reach 8 million by midcentury, representing 2 percent of the U.S. population, reports MSNBC. It’s a huge transformation from statistics taken a century ago, which reported fewer than 100,000 individuals in the United States reached the age of 90.

Though it’s wonderful to think that family members and other loved ones may have the potential to have long, prosperous lives, the fact remains that Illinois nursing home abuse cases are all too common. Simply put, more elderly persons could mean more instances of abuse.

Finally some hospitals seem to get it.

According to a recent report by MSNBC, a new breed of emergency room is emerging, catering specifically to elderly patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals 65 years and older typically make up nearly 25 percent of adult emergency room visits, and once there, they are also the most vulnerable patients. These new hospital wings aim to afford the best possible care to that demographic.

The fact that hospitals are beginning to find ways to assist the older generation and make accommodations for their comfort is illustrative of a shift towards catering to the health needs of the growing aging population, reports MSNBC. These geriatric-centered emergency department, or geri-eds, will be opening in healthcare facilities across the country, undoubtedly bringing with them new expectations for the standard of care for elderly patients.

When a nursing home undertakes the responsibility to provide care for its residents, an important part of that duty encompasses protecting patients from harm caused by other residents. When nursing facilities and their administrators fail in carrying out this obligation and patients suffer as a result of the actions of other residents (who may not even be cognizant or in control of their actions), those facilities may be made to answer to Illinois nursing home negligence lawsuits for the injuries of the residents they were supposed to protect.

That may be the next step for the families of residents of Hillcrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a Joliet nursing home that has been found to be negligent in caring for its residents. State public health officials confirmed Wednesday that they are in the process of revoking the facility’s license, and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) officials have also confirmed that the home was scheduled to be decertified for Medicare after an IDPH investigation revealed that residents were transferred without regard to their preference of facility.

Additionally, a separate IDPH investigation found that between May and October, a 26-year-old male Hillcrest resident sexually, physically, and mentally abused at least 23 other residents, reported the Joliet Herald-News. The man exposed himself and assaulted residents of both sexes, threatening to “come back with a gun” if they reported the incidents. The administrators of the facility had the responsibility to provide adequate supervision, and to prevent a situation like this from occurring.

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers
Contact Information