Lawyer Resources for Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse in the Nursing HomeWhen you learn that a loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse, the realization can be painful and emotionally trying. Instead of feeling a sense of despair, there are steps that you can take to end the abuse and get the help that you need for your loved one. There are expansive federal and state laws in place to ensure that your loved one is protected, even if he or she is in a state-run facility. There is no excuse for nursing home abuse, which is any act or failure to act that causes mental injury, physical injury or death to a nursing home resident. There are many forms of nursing home abuse, and it may take the following forms:
• Verbal abuse
Sexual abuse
• Mental & psychological abuse
• Physical elder abuse
• Corporal punishment
• Involuntary seclusion
• Other actions of nursing home staff or administrators
• Omissions to act that result in harm to nursing home residents

Specific signs of abuse include the appearance of bed sores, dirty clothing, an inability to speak or communicate, depression, unexplained bleeding or abrasions, refusal of a nursing home facility to allow visitors to see the resident and withdrawal from family members and friends.

If a loved one has suffered due to nursing home abuse, then family members can file a nursing home lawsuit on behalf of the injured loved one. The lawsuit may also be brought on behalf of the estate of a loved one who has passed away.

Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?

Nursing home abuse can occur due to the negligent hiring of employees on a nursing home staff, an understaffed nursing home or simply the harmful intentions of employees on staff to engage in such abuse. Nursing home administrators have a duty of care to residents, and this duty of care includes carefully conducting background searches of all employees hired in the nursing home. In some instances, nursing home administrators are desperate to fill open employee spots and may overlook an employee’s past history of violence or abuse. Hiring unemployable individuals increases the likelihood that abuse will impact the residents currently in a nursing home facility.

How Do I Report Nursing Home Abuse?

If you suspect that a loved one has been the victim of abuse, then it is important for the loved one to receive immediate medical attention for any emotional or physical injuries. Most states have an Act that provides for emergency protection services of vulnerable adults when there abuse has occurred. Make sure that you carefully document each injury that a loved one has suffered with a doctor, physician or other medical professional.

After you have recorded the injuries suffered by your loved one with a medical professional, it is important to report the abuse to local police authorities. Abuse of vulnerable adults in nursing homes is considered a crime, and it is considered a felony in many states too. When the police are notified about the abuse, they will be able to search a nursing home facility and gather evidence that can support your case. The police department can also question witnesses and begin identifying the staff members or administrators who may be charged with perpetrating this abuse.

How Nursing Home Abuse Law Firms Can Help Your Loved One

Also, you can get in touch with a nursing home abuse lawyer to help you with your nursing home abuse case. In addition to imposing criminal penalties for the abuse that has occurred, a court of law may be able to award damages for the injuries that your loved one has suffered. A nursing home abuse lawyer will research the facts of your case and determine the best course of action for your legal strategy.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers understands the complexities of nursing home abuse cases and the challenges faced by a family when determining how– or if to proceed with a case. Our attorneys appreciate the strain put upon a senior when they are asked to relive a disturbing experience. Consequently, we take every feasible measure to protect your loved one from further distress during the entire litigation process. While our team is well versed in nursing home litigation and trial, we will work with you to follow your desires to proceed toward a settlement or take the case to trial. All of our nursing home abuse cases are handled on a contingency basis– where a legal fee is only charged when there is a recovery for you. Call us anytime (800) 926-7565

Septic Shock from a Bed SoreIn the United States, there are over 934,000 occurrences of septic shock each year. Sepsis is an advanced form of infection that is caused by bacteria or fungus and, if not treated quickly, has an extremely high rate of mortality. Elderly people are already at a much higher risk than any other age group and many patients develop sepsis from decubitus ulcers. If a patient is discovered to have a bedsore that has progressed into an advanced stage, sepsis treatment needs to begin promptly in order to give the patient the best chance of recovery.

What is a Decubitus Ulcer?

Commonly referred to as bedsores, decubitus ulcers develop due to lack of circulation. When left in the same position for long periods of time, the weight placed on a person’s joints can cut off the blood flow to the surrounding area. Over time, tissue begins to degrade at the cellular level due to a lack of oxygen and when the tissue dies, it creates an open wound that is extremely painful and highly inviting of bacterial infections that only serve to make the situation worse. Most bedsores are easily preventable and due to the manner in which they progress, it is unacceptable for bedsores to go unnoticed until their late stages.

Nursing Home Owners Interests are Where?The FBI apprehended a man and his wife in Atlanta this month for Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The man, George Houser, owned three nursing homes which were all in disrepair and providing a substandard of living to the patients they served. While we would like to believe that this is an isolated incident, recent studies and data have all pointed to the fact that when nursing home facilities are owned by for-profit companies or held by a private owner who is seeking a profit, the needs of the patient will always be less important than the bottom line.

A New Precedent Set for Negligent Nursing Home Owners

George Houser was the first person ever to be federally convicted on the basis of submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for services that were defined as “worthless”. Throughout all three of his homes, the ceilings were falling apart, rainwater needed to be collected in garbage cans spread throughout the facilities, dirty laundry was piled up and the floors were filthy. Houser wrote bad paychecks to his employees, failed to pay for their insurance benefits after withholding premiums from their pay, defaulted on payment to food vendors and clinical laboratories and failed to pay for waste disposal or nursing supplies. His employers paid for food and supplies out of their own pockets because patients were starving to death and becoming gravely ill.

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

Criminal Charges in Nursing HomesEmployees at nursing homes widely abuse the elderly. However, the financial abuse is rarely ever talked about. There are not many statistical reports that give insight into the amount of financial abuse Americans aged 65 or older face at nursing homes. These elderly are the people admitted to nursing homes by family members because the elderly cannot take of themselves and the family cannot help them. They are in the care of the nursing home employees, who are mostly licensed nurses and medical assistants. Due to the disabilities and diseases that ails the elderly, they are unable to report any incidences of financial abuse or otherwise.

How Do Nursing Home Employees Abuse Residents Financially?

The employees at nursing homes financially abuse residents all over America through many ways. One of the most popular methods is to overcharge residents for services that they did not require, services that were never offered or by stealing medication that the residents may not have needed. The last method explicitly falls under drug abuse and it is administered under the local state departments. Many of the state departments have warned for-profit and licensed nursing homes to administer the drug use in their premises. However, in many cases, the administrators of such for-profit nursing homes are involved in drug abuse. The State Health Department also asks anyone aware of such financial or drug abuse to consider it their mandatory duty to report such incidents on behalf of the state.

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

Medical Care through Nursing Homes for Younger PeopleNursing homes are generally defined as public homes where those people live who do not require hospital care but at the same time, cannot live at home because an injury or disability makes them unable to care for themselves.

In the past few decades of advancing medical care, there have been more turnarounds in serious health injuries than it could have been predicted 20 years back. Simply put, this advancement has enabled the younger generation to survive, even in potentially fatal accidents and diseases. As a result, most of these youngsters are living at nursing homes with the elderly.

Why Are Young People Rushing to Nursing Homes?

Hospice Cares and Questions about Sincerity

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care refers to the provision of medical and emotional support to people who are in the last stages of a serious illness, or those who are thought to have six months left due to a particular illness. Such patients agree to shift from the exhausting treatments for illnesses such as cancer or heart failure, to a more comfortable form of care. Hospices also provide support to family members, providing them with help in managing the care needed and the emotional challenges faced when a loved one is dying.

However, if patients live beyond the six-month deadline, the doctors and caregivers are supposed to reassess the patient’s condition to determine whether they still qualify for hospice care.

Judicial System OperationA Canadian nursing home chain, Extendicare, has decided to do business anywhere but in Kentucky, where it just leased all 21 of its facilities to another company. The decision was made after the company failed to sway the Kentucky legislature to pass a measure into law that would make it more difficult to sue nursing homes for negligence and neglect. Some people see the action as evidence that Extendicare officials are aware of its own wrongdoing and have pulled the company out of the state in order to avoid being it being held accountable for its actions.

Previous Incident

In 2008, three nurse’s aides were involved in the abuse of a nursing home patient in a facility that was owned by Extendicare at the time. The incident was caught by the placement of a hidden camera and the defendants received diverted sentences for their crimes by 2010. Since the incident, Extendicare has shown a greater interest in politics— by attempting to persuade lawmakers to make it more difficult for the abused and neglected to file lawsuits against nursing homes.

Nursing Home Verdict against Nursing HomeElderly people who have succumbed to a disease or illness are vulnerable and frail. They are in a very precarious state, where the slightest aggravation to their body can cause severe health damage. Family members are usually not equipped with the expertise and resources to care for their ill loved ones, so they decide to admit their elderly family members in nursing homes.

When an elderly individual is admitted to a nursing home, family members are assured that their loved ones will be taken care of. The nursing home staff guarantees optimal care and tells the family members not to worry. However, once the family members leave, the situation becomes quite different.

The Reality of Nursing Homes

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