All those who follow news of Illinois nursing home neglect are likely surprised by the frequency with which resident-on-resident violence occurs in our area. Fortunately, the vast majority of nursing home aide workers are committed to providing quality service to help the vulnerable seniors in their care. It is only a small minority of employees who do not take their role seriously and ultimately endanger the lives of those who are counting on them. When an aide worker fails to provide the close observation required at these facilities, severe harm often arises. That harm is often caused by physical and sexual violence perpetrated against some residents by other residents.
For example, earlier this week the Chicago Tribune reported on the death of a group home resident apparently at the hands of another resident of the home. The 35-year old victim was found dead this weekend on the steps of the group home where he lived. An autopsy conducted after the accident revealed that the man died from head injuries that he sustained after a fall. The fall was apparently caused by an assault of another. Witnesses explained that the victim was in the middle of a flight of stairs when he was approached by an agitated individual who also lived in the home. The other individual pushed the man, causing the fall and head injury.
Both the victim and the attacker reportedly have severe to profound mental retardation. The home in which they lived was part of a network of facilities run by a non-profit foundation that provides residential programs for those with special care needs. This facility-like many others like it-are required to be licensed by the state and receive state funding to help with their operations.
This accident remains under investigation. However, our Illinois nursing home negligence lawyers know that these types of accidents could often have been prevented if the involved residents were properly supervised. Lack of supervision in these contexts is often referred to as “elopement.” It arises when residents are allowed to wander around a facility or leave a facility in ways that place them and others in danger.
Each resident of a nursing home or group home needs to be evaluated individually to understand their specific wandering and elopement risks. Failure to do so means that many residents are placed at risk of falls, exposure to harsh weather, attacks by others with violent tendencies, and a variety of other dangers. If a resident is harmed because their facility failed to provide the supervision that they needed, then an Illinois lawsuit may be necessary to hold them accountable for their conduct.
When used in this way the civil justice system is an important method of improving the quality of care provided at area locations that need to show improvement. Nursing home lawsuits have the capacity to do that, and so they are helpful tools to force facilities to make changes that protect residents and ultimately save lives.
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