Late last week the Belleville News Democrat published a story explaining how a local family had taken steps to contact legal professionals to learn more about their options following the tragic death of their father at a Belleville nursing home. The Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer reiterated that the family is not yet ready to file a nursing home lawsuit. Instead, as is common in these cases, the family simply wants to know more about what happened to their father and better understand whether it should have been prevented.
A common misconception in these situations is that a family should only visit with an elder neglect lawyer when they know exactly what happened and simply want a legal professional to file the right paperwork. Of course, families rarely know exactly what happened after a loved one passes away at a long-term care facility. Instead, they usually have many more questions than answers. Visiting with a legal professional in the area is therefore a first step in getting basic questions answered and having an advocate on your side to pressure the facility into being open and honest. Whether or not a lawsuit is filed depends on information that is uncovered after investigation and analysis, not necessarily as soon as a family decides to visit with a legal professional to learn more. In other words, families should never avoid talking with a lawyer simply because they don’t know how they want to proceed. Instead, talking with an attorney in this area is best done when one is still unsure and simply wanting to learn more about the options in front of them.
For example, in this case, the daughters are hoping to figure out exactly how their 77-year old father died from hypothermia after wandering out of the local rehabilitation and respiratory care center. Their father was suffering from dementia and heart disease. Last week the man walked out of the facility-no doubt confused about where he was headed. It wasn’t until several days later that his body was found in a ravine about a block from the home. He had died from hypothermia due to exposure to the elements. Now the family wants to know how this was allowed to happen.
As the Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer for the family explained, “A long-term resident who suffers from dementia and other life-threatening conditions should not be able to walk out the door to the nursing home unnoticed and unsupervised.”
So far the facility has not explained to the daughters how their father was able to walk out of the front door of the facility without being stopped. The early investigation has revealed that the man had actually tried to walk out of the facility in the past, but was stopped. That would seemingly suggest that the facility should have been on notice that the man was a wandering risk which needed to be guarded against for this own safety. The facility involved, when under different ownership, had previously been listed as one of the worst in the state when it came to federal citations.
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