This week a story and video was posted at Lawyers.com that tackled the issue of nursing home abuse and neglect. Our Illinois nursing home abuse attorney, Steve M. Levin, was the featured legal professional in the piece. Attorney Levin shared information of general interest for families who suspect that their loved one might not be receiving adequate care at a long-term care facility. In addition, the article discussed a case of Chicago nursing home neglect on which our firm worked involving a local resident who suffered severe injury at local long-term care facility that ultimately led to his death.
The local case involved a Chicago resident, Paula Lingo, who discovered two years ago in 2010 that her uncle may not have received reasonable care while living at a local long-term care facility. Her uncle had suffered a stroke, and he was living at the nursing home for what was supposed to be a short-term stint for rehabilitation. However, like many residents who initially are only supposed to be at the facility for a short time, he would actually never be able to live on his own again.
Ms. Lingo was shocked to learn that her uncle’s body was covered in pressure sores. As blog readers know, these sores are caused by constant pressure on bony prominences of the body. They are almost always preventable and can be prevented with proper rotation of the body, sufficient nutrition and hydration, and other basic caregiving techniques. However, when these standard treatments are neglected, the harm to the patients can be severe. As Ms. Lingo noted, “It was horrific to see how severely injured his body was.”
Unfortunately, while this case represents tragic suffering experienced by seniors as a result of inadequate care, it is not necessarily a unique case. Nursing home residents are hurt every single day in our area, and much of it goes unreported. Some estimates suggest that as many as one out of every three nursing home residents suffer some kind of abuse. That amounts to over 1 million Americans hurt in this way. Those figures are unacceptable. Yet, much of that abuse is swept under the rug or never uncovered, and so the mistreatment continues without the national outrage that it should receive.
As part of the story, Attorney Levin explained how understaffing is often a central cause of the chronic mistreatment. That is why it is important for loved ones to be particularly vigilant about the condition of friends and relatives and be ready to step in if warning signs are spotted. Bed sores or pressure ulcers, falls, broken bones, malnutrition, dehydration, medication errors, physical abuse, and other indicators are all too common. If you suspect that your loved one has been hurt it is important to contact facility officials immediately. In addition, families are often well served by visiting with legal professionals to be aware of the potential legal ramifications of certain actions.
Please take a moment to view the video above. However, be aware that some of the images included in the above clip are graphic. Pictures of various injuries frequently seen in cases of nursing home neglect cases are shown. Pressure sores and other injuries are depicted in the story to emphasize the seriousness of the consequences for these breaches of care.
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