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Nursing Home Lawsuit in Death of Resident with Dementia

The Times Argus reported this week on a new lawsuit filed by the son of a former nursing home resident. The suit makes claims of negligence against the long-term care facility which resulted in the death of the 84-year old woman. The report provides few details of the incident, but it does indicate that some of the most common problems with dementia care might have present in the case.

According to the story, the elderly woman suffered from dementia and was known to wander. The suit claims that at some point in 2010, the resident entered the room of another resident–a 58-year old man. When she entered, the other resident apparently told her to “get out” before the man somehow knocked the woman to the ground. As often happens when a vulnerable nursing home resident suffers a fall, serious injuries were involved. The senior resident was struggling fight the injuries, but she ultimately passed away two days after the accident.

The senior resident’s son eventually sought out a legal professional to learn about his rights. He likely made the decision to help his mother enter the facility specifically because he knew of her wandering risk and other vulnerabilities. It is unacceptable, therefore, for the home to allow these sorts of preventable accidents to cause harm–or even death.

Dementia Care – Individualization Needed
This latest lawsuit comes at a time when many senior caregiving advocates are making a push for better care for residents with dementia. Much of the focus is on a need for individualized care. Instead of excessive medications or mass mobility limitations, caregiving need to focus on the unique aspects of the individuals character, personality, fears, needs, and goals.

Unfortunately, caregiving for residents with dementia often falls into two categories. At times the cognitive condition is not taken into account at all and residents receive little to no special help. In those cases, dementia residents are prone to wandering and there is often significant elopment. In those cases, the resident may face falls or be attacked by other resident.

At the other end of the spectrum, some dementia patients are heavily medicated with “chemical restraints” severely limiting their ability to engage with the world around them. Sometimes they may even be actually physically restrained.

What is missing in all of these cases is individualized care that respects the uniqueness of each resident.

Illinois Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers
The lawyers at our firm have extensive experience working with residents and their families after negligent nursing home care led to harm. Resident-on-resident aggression and nursing home falls are some of the most common forms in which neglect manifests.

In addition, residents with dementia are often more at risk of falling victim to neglect. However, local residents should know that inadequate care which causes harm to these residents is never acceptable. They have legal rights which must be respected. Be sure to get in touch with an attorney if you have questions about the care received to learn exactly how the law might apply in your case.

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