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Report Highlights Death and Troubling Care at State-Run Homes for Disabled

Our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers recently discussed how privately run nursing homes, on the whole, have been found to have higher total care deficiencies rates than non profit homes. Those statistics should give all caution to consider the way that the profit-motive may distort proper care-giving. That is not to say that no nursing home should be private and in the business of making a profit. However, it is to say that observers should pay close care to services provided at these homes to ensure the incentive to cut corners in order to save money is not taken advantage of by decision makers at the facility
Yet, it is a drastic over-simplification to believe that loved ones will be assured proper care if they are in a public or non-profit facility. Nursing home abuse and neglect can and does occur at public homes. When the body in charge of the care, such as a state or county fails to adequate provide the resources necessary, the care at those homes are often particularly dismal. The New York Times reported last week on a new report in one state which found a rash of unexplained deaths at state run assisted care facilities for the disabled.

Many of the care detailed in the new report is enough to turn one’s stomach. For example, in one case, a quadriplegic was placed in a bath tub and left unattended. The 41-year old man lacked the ability to move much more than his head. Yet his caregiver turned on his bath and left him for over 15 minutes. The water rose over her head and he drowned before anyone returned. Unfortunately, the inadequate care in that case was not a one-time incident. A new report by the publication found, shockingly, that one out of every six deaths at these homes was attributed to either unnatural or unknown causes. That figure was reached after examining over 1,200 deaths at these facilities over the last ten years.

The fact that fifteen percent of residents are dying in strange and accidental deaths would likely give oversight bodies incentive to investigate further. Yet, according to the story, the state involved has done little to track the situation more closely or investigate the situation. As a result of the failure to properly track the situation means that the same mistakes are made over and over. There is little to no accountability. The newspaper’s own investigation found cases of residents who choked after being left alone against policy, who fell down the stairs and who ran away and were found dead.

Unfortunately, even when proper investigations are conducted and misconduct is found, the newspaper found that there is little accountability at the higher levels of the nonprofit homes. In most cases, the lowest level employee were fired or disciplined, but rarely did the executives involved face any repercussions. This is not surprising, considering that the state relies on the investigations of the homes themselves to determine how an individual died.

If you suspect that any mistreatment like this has occurred in our area, please get in touch with our Chicago injury attorneys to share your story. Nursing home abuse cannot be tolerated, no matter who is involved, and accountability is the only way to enact system-wide changes.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs–The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog–were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

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See Our Related Blog Posts:

Advocates Concerned About Inequality in Nursing Home Pressure Sore Rates

Signs & Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect