Lawyer Resources for Chicago Nursing Home Abuse

Chicago-nursing-home-abuseWhen we make the difficult decision to enroll a loved one into a Chicago nursing home, we expect that the staff is going to take care of them properly and meet their needs wherever possible. Unfortunately, it has become commonplace to see neglect and outright abuse in many of these nursing homes. While state and federal regulations are in place to protect the elderly (with the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act as one of the major ones), violations of this act and abuse in Chicago nursing homes do still happen every single day.

Why is this problem growing?

With our population aging, we are only going to see more and more people living in nursing homes over the next two decades. Oftentimes these facilities are under-staffed and/or under-trained. Considering abuse and neglect are already happening far too often, this is only going to increase as more people need these services.

While we may assume that many enter into the care industry because they want to help others, the motivation for many of the large companies behind these nursing homes is money. When profit is what matters, oftentimes quality of patient care is less important. Companies will hire less experienced employees to save money and provide minimal amenities. The impact on patient care is almost immediate because of these major changes in the nursing home industry. Patient injury, neglect, and abuse incident numbers are rising as companies aim to reduce care in order to maintain profitability.

Signs of potential abuse or neglect to look for

Unfortunately, it can be rather difficult to determine signs of poor care or neglect of a nursing home patient. Because no two cases are the same, the signs will vary. Oftentimes family members of the patient are going to be in the best position to determine whether the nursing home staff is providing adequate care. The family knows the patient beyond the nursing home, so they may be able to identify possible changes. For someone who only knows the person as they were in the nursing home, someone being neglected in a Chicago nursing home is far harder to identify.

Not all signs of abuse are going to be immediate. There may be a gradual onset of symptoms as the problem develops or escalates. Even during regularly scheduled visits, you may not notice right away. Experts have identified the following common warning signs that may indicate a problem exists.

  • The patient is living in dirty conditions
  • The patient has pressure sores on his or her body
  • There is a change in demeanor, the patient becomes agitated quickly
  • The patient has a loss of appetite
  • The patient is rapidly losing weight
  • The family member begins to withdraw from friends and family

Know when it’s time to take legal action and contact a Chicago nursing home abuse law firm

Remember that emotional and/or physical abuse cannot be ignored. We entrust these facilities to look after our elders, but it is clear that for many of these facilities, providing the best possible care takes a backseat to profits. Remember that this is not merely about our own loved ones, if it happens to one person in the facility, chances are that it is happening to more. These changes matter, not only because it affects our elders, but eventually we ourselves are going to need facilities such as these. If you do not take action against Chicago nursing home abuse, who will?

If you suspect neglect of a patient in an Illinois nursing home, we invite you to contact our Chicago nursing home negligence attorneys for a free consultation. Our legal team has helped hundreds of families recover compensation from negligent facilities throughout the state. Call us anytime to arrange a telephone call or in-person meeting. (800) 926-7565

Caregivers Sued of PatientDecember 11, 2012—The family of a woman who was living in an assisted-care facility has filed a lawsuit against the home claiming that, among other things, the woman had maggots growing in her ear from lack of hygiene and personal care.

The Lutheran Home, located in Arlington Heights outside of Chicago, is charged with failing to provide a reasonable standard of care after the family filed a complaint with the Department of Public Health, but no violations were found at that time.  A month later, the patient’s daughter watched as the insects were removed from her mother’s ear during an emergency room visit.  The family claimed that lack of care on the part of the nursing home staff had led to the problem.  The victim has since been moved to another facility.

The Chicago nursing home lawsuit seeks at least $50,000 in damages.  The facility has responded that it did nothing wrong and the incident was a “freak occurrence” unrelated to the level of care the patient was given. The Lutheran Home currently has 372 patients, including 80 in a special Alzheimer’s care facility.

Low Staff Numbers in Nursing HomesA fierce battle has been waged in the Illinois legislature over the last two years over whether nursing homes should be required to maintain minimum staff levels. Senate bill 2840 addresses whether or not facilities should be required to maintain certain numbers of nurses on their staff— the current bill requires ten percent of the care patients receive to come from fully trained registered nurses as opposed to a mixture of registered nurses and practical nurses.

Critics of the bill argue that the bill does not serve its purpose and that the required number of registered nurses should be higher. Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill into law when it reaches his desk, a move that has many people up in arms and accusing him of allowing for-profit nursing home companies to influence regulation.

The Need for Accountability

Inferior Care Leads to Fines in Nursing HomesIt seems like a broken record, but the problems with patient care in Illinois nursing homes persist. One need look only to the recently published listing of quarterly nursing home violations from the first quarter of 2012 published by the Illinois Department Of Public Health (IDPH) to see that there are pervasive problems in nursing homes within the state. From Springfield to Chicago, the IDPH conducts both annual surveys and responds to complaints filed by patients and families. All told, when reviewing the quarterly list, the following facts jump from the list of the quarterly violations.

  • Total number of facilities cited: 87
  • Total amount fined = $737,700

Families To Stand Up for Elderly CareAfter a lifetime of providing for the needs of their families, giving love and making sacrifice for those who they have cared about, our elderly really do deserve much better care than they have been receiving at many facilities. Nursing home abuse is a topic that few people like to talk about and most people would prefer to believe that it doesn’t happen to their loved ones. Each time a story is aired on the news that details the horrible treatment that has been given to an elderly person; our gut reaction is to assure ourselves that the nursing home we chose for our loved ones is better. But is it?

St. John’s Place

St. John’s place is a nursing home that is in St. Louis County that may appear no different than most other nursing homes in the area. The facility is receiving attention lately due to two separate incidents involving patients under its care this month. Police were investigating the fall of an 82 year old woman who suffered severe injuries in the fall. Criminal charges may be filed against the nursing home and the story was featured on the news— prompting a viewer to investigate the home even further because her own family member was a patient there.

Complaints are Allowed about Illinois Nursing HomesAccording to the National Center on Elder Abuse, numerous elderly members of society suffer from physical, emotional, mental and verbal abuse every year. The NCEA posts statistics on elder abuse that are readily available to the public. The NCEA has found that the majority of senior citizens are abused by family members, however, statistics indicating the occurrence of abuse in long-term care facilities are still staggering. Over 3.2 million individuals reside in long-term care facilities. A 2000 research study indicated that 44 percent of the 2,000 interviewed residents stated that they had been abused at some point in the facility.

A Problem Society Can No Longer Ignore

Elder abuse has become a national problem that has even captured the attention of President Obama. A law introduced by Gov. Pat Quinn will give individuals the ability to file online abuse complaints with the Illinois Department of Public Health. Those with complaints will be able to file the complaints on the IDPH website. Illinois politicians believe that the new law will assist experts in analyzing senior abuse trends in the state and nation.

Private Equity May have a Place in Nursing HomesOne of the worst trends in the nursing home industry is the fact that it is becoming increasingly ‘for profit’. With the federal and state government trying to save as much money as possible, many nursing homes now operate under private equity. What this means is that care facilities are being run as though they were a business – meaning that more attention is paid to the bottom line rather than the actual needs of the people who live in these facilities.

The case of Bruce Rauner

One of the recent cases that bring this problem into the national spotlight is Bruce Rauner and his GTCR private equity firm. Rauner, a Republican candidate for Illinois governor, promises that he is going to run Illinois ‘like a business’ if he is voted as governor. However, the problem is that Mr. Rauner does not have an excellent record of accomplishment when it comes to compassionate business.

Nursing Home Abuse Report in Illinois Shows AbuseElder Abuse becomes rampant in American Nursing homes

Elder abuse is reported in 1 of every 3 nursing homes surveyed in America. The incidence of this abuse has shot up exponentially in the last few years owing to a number of factors. Even with this statistic, most detailed surveys and experts express that elder abuse in nursing homes is a severely under reported crime because only 1 in 5 instances are ever brought to the officials’ attention.

Why this may be is not something hard to understand. The elders left at nursing homes usually do not have anywhere else to go. With children busy in personal and working lives and their spouses either dead or in similar conditions, these senior citizens have no one else to rely on. Therefore, most of them take the abuse thrown at them as part and parcel of this way of life.

Medical-Malpractice-Cases-Take-Work-And-Time-To-SettleMedical malpractice lawsuits are some of the most complex types of civil suits and can take years to get to the settlement stage, if they ever get to that point. There is a lot of work involved and special litigation procedures that must be followed. If you are a victim of medical malpractice in Illinois, understand that your case will take time to pursue and get ready to hang in there for the long haul and often to trial.

Illinois Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases are not as cut and dry as headlines often make them seem. While large verdicts of millions of dollars often make the news, what you do not hear about is all the work that went into the case, the time it took and how many other similar cases were lost once they went to trial. The Jury Verdict Reporter did an analysis on medical malpractice cases over a five-year period, 2002-2007, both in Cook County and throughout the rest of Illinois. The breakdown shows how many cases were won, what the median and average verdict awards were and the amount of the highest award each year. Some interesting numbers from that report:

Fatal Medication OverdoseA mistake administering medication has cost a patient their life and cost an Illinois nursing home $273,607 following a wrongful death jury trial. The nursing home negligence lawsuit was initiated by the family of a 66-year-old patient who was admitted to Rosewood Care Center for short-term skilled nursing care and control of her chronic pain. As part of her treatment, the staff at the facility were to administer a powerful narcotic known as Fentanyl which was to be administered via a patch placed on the skin. As per the orders from the patient’s physician, the patient was to receive one patch on her back for control of pain at a time.

In an obvious error, one of the nurses attending to the patient placed a second Fentanyl patch on the woman without realizing that there was already one in place. Shortly after the second patch was applied, the woman lost consciousness and was taken to a nearby hospital for what was believed to be a narcotic overdose.

Muddying the waters

Nursing Home NegligenceA nursing home negligence lawsuit was recently filed in Chicago‘s Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of a disabled man who suffered the amputation of his leg following the development of bed sores during his admission to a Joliet, IL nursing home. The lawsuit alleges that Hillcrest Nursing & Rehabilitation Center was negligent in the manner it cared for the man who entered the facility in 2010 for rehabilitation following a series of strokes.

A decline in condition

According to the man’s family, despite his illness, he was able to get around with the assistance of a walker when he entered the facility in 2010. However, during his admission staff at Hillcrest failed to provide the necessary care that he required allowing the patient to become less mobile and eventually develop a bed sore on his heel. Even after the bed sore began to manifest itself, staff at the facility failed to provide the necessary treatment which resulted in an infection that ultimately required the leg to be amputated above the knee.

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Client Reviews

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric