December 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.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect a Growing Problem
Unfortunately, the experience of the family in this story is not unusual. Nursing home abuse and neglect is a large and growing problem in our country, fueled by slashed budgets and understaffed facilities that are still required to meet state and federal standards and must take as many patients as possible to meet their financial obligations.
According to a report by CNN, 90 percent of nursing home facilities are understaffed, and one out of three facilities have been cited for abuse or other infractions. Over 5,000 residents per year die in these facilities from bed sores, starvation, dehydration, or malnutrition. At least half of all nursing home residents suffer from untreated pain.
Even more frightening are the statistics on nursing home staff members. Twenty-five percent of all nursing home aides that are prosecuted for abuse have previous criminal histories, and at least five percent overall have a criminal background. About three percent of all reported abuse incidents involve sexual abuse.
Something Must Be Done
At least ten percent of the population will spend part of their lives in a nursing home, so demanding quality care for the elderly is not an option. In order to guarantee that nursing homes are safe and healthy environments for loved ones, family and friends must be willing to take steps when abuse is discovered. Not only does this protect the individual loved one concerned but others who may also be victims and have no one to stand up for their rights.
A personal injury attorney can help the families of victims in nursing homes to find answers to their questions and hold those people accountable who are responsible for the abuse or neglect suffered by these residents. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, the families and victims take back control over their lives and the treatment of their loved ones.
For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.