Articles Posted in Failure to supervise

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When families move a loved one into a long-term care facility, they are entrusting the home to provide proper support for their loved one. While these transfers happen every day, they are not easy. Many emotions are tied up in the transfer, and most families would prefer to care for a loved one at home–if they could. Trusting a facility to ensure your family member–husband, wife, mother, father, grandmother–is not neglected is a big step that no family undertakes lightly. That is why reading nursing home ratings, visiting the home, speaking with current residents, and other basic steps are incredibly helpful to ensure you are making the best choice.

Yet, no matter how much due diligence is performed, there comes a point when you simply must trust the facility to do the right thing. More specifically, you must trust the individual employees who work at the home. There are few settings where one individual maintains more power over another as that involving vulnerable seniors in nursing homes and their caregivers. That is why it is incumbent upon owners and operators of these facilities to ensure they recruit only qualified nurses, aides, guards, and others so that residents are not placed at risk.

Far too often, they fail in that duty.

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Two members of our team recently reached a settlement on behalf of a family following a preventable nursing home fall in Chicago that led to the untimely passing of a resident. The facts of this case are very similar to those that strike across the city far too often. We hope that more families understand that things like falls in nursing homes are often signs of neglect or caregiving errors that should have been avoided. These facilities must make changes to prevent falls and learn from past mistakes.

Chicago Nursing Home Fall

This particular incident occurred several years ago, in late October of 2007. An 89-year old woman was first admitted into a local nursing home in the summer of that year. Like all residents she has specific vulnerabilities which required around-the-clock care that she could not receive anywhere else. In particular, this resident was known from the first day of admission to be a fall risk. When a resident has serious mobility problems, it is essential that properly tailored care plans be put in place and followed to ensure the resident’s safety. That usually means, as was true here, that the resident receive assistance with any activity that required movement, like leaving the bed, using the restroom, going to the dining hall, and similar events.

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Most community members appreciate that certain products can be dangerous. We have all heard stories of major recalls involving many different things, from cars and trucks to children’s toys and cleaning products. However, even though we know products can be defective or dangerous, we still use them, because it is simply impossible to know for certain whether any indiviual product is defective. We have to rely on the standards of those making the items and the regulators tasked with ensuring overly dangerous materials are kept out of the stream of commerce.

Sadly, the product liability attorneys at our firm know that even with safety standards in place, dangerous products still make it to the market and affect communty members nearly every day. A large part of the work of legal professionals in this field invovles helping those hurt by those products that slip through the cracks, and working to ensure systematically harmful products are no longer available to hurt unsuspecting residents.

The Dangers of Bed Rails in Nursing Homes

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All across the country, nursing homes are being run with less than the optimum number of staff. They are being understaffed in a hope to cut costs and increase profits. When nursing homes fail to properly staff their facilities, the chance of accidents and mistakes greatly increases. State and Federal laws set a minimum standard that nursing homes must comply with. The problems arise when facilities choose to ignore these government regulations.

People choose to go to nursing homes not because they want to, but because they are at a point in their lives where they need more care and attention than can otherwise be provdided to them. Many nursing home residents have been finding out that the nursing homes promise to provide them the care and treatment they need is often a fabrication. The nursing homes that choose to understaff their facilities have been rewarded with large profits by failing to provide the required number of nursing hours and as a result, patients of these homes have not received adequate care.

Some problems that can occur when a facility is understaffed are falls, pressure sores, dehydration and malnutrition, all of which stem from an overall lack of quality care and attention. It is easy to blame the staff of the nursing home when problems arise, but in reality the staff is often doing the best it can with the resources it is provided. If there are not enough staff members to provide supervision for the residents who are at risk for falls then it is likely a resident will fall, and it is no stretch of the imagination to assume that if there are not enough staff members to turn and reposition residents who are at risk for the development of pressure sores, that a resident will eventually develop pressure sores.

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Nursing home abuse is a widespread problem here in Chicago and across the country. Far too often, vulnerable elderly residents are admitted to these facilities and then suffer through poor treatment. The neglect comes in a variety of forms, from failing to protect certain residents from the unwanted sexual advances of others to the failure to use proper safety measures to prevent deadly falls.

Awareness of the widespread issues related to care at nursing homes causes many families to attempt alternative methods of caring for elderly loved ones who are unable to live without certain extra support. One common technique is employing an at-home caregiver. In that way, the loved one is allowed to stay at his or her own home and live with the assistance of a specially hired aide. However, examples abound of caregivers who also commit egregious acts of abuse and negligence.

For example, SC Now News reported this week on two supposed caregivers who were arrested after their failure to provide the close care required to a vulnerable patient. The 24-year old aides were the caregivers for a non-responsive stroke patient. The elderly patient also had diabetes and a feeding tube. She required constant monitoring and supervision, which was a main reason that both woman were hired to provide the care necessary to keep her health stable.

The woman failed in their duties. Police discovered that they purposefully left the victim alone without supervision for long stretches. Their conduct lead to their arrests for knowing and willful neglect of a vulnerable elderly adult.
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A 2007 death at a nursing home in Rochester, Minnesota has led to a nursing home lawsuit. The suit alleges medical malpractice and wrongful death against the facility whose negligent care led to the death.

The Rochester Post-Bulletin is reporting on the lawsuit, which involved two residents with dementia at the Sunrise Assisted Living Facility. In August 2007, the victim, Donald R. Salli, was found on the floor of the facility with another resident kicking him repeatedly in the back. Mr. Salli also pointed to a large hematoma on his own head, indicating beating in the head and neck area as well.

However, even after this beating, Mr. Salli was not examined by a licensed nurse until seven hours later. Perhaps nervous that they would be reprimanded for allowing the attack to occur, staff members did not seek any emergency care for the injured resident.

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The Globe Gazette recently reported on a new lawsuit alleging nursing home negligence by the Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea. The suit charges nursing home staff with failure to properly supervise four teenage certified nursing assistants alleged to have committed a wide-range of abuses on their elderly residents.

The abuse was carried out unabated over the course of four to six months. It included sexual groping of the residents and repeated physical beatings. The teenage assistants also went so far as to explain to one particular resident that the facility was actually a prison in an attempt to confuse and torment the mentally impaired elderly victim.

This is the fourth lawsuit stemming from the elder abuse at this facility. Police reports indicate that 15 residents with Alzheimer’s disease were abused by the four nursing home staff members. In each case the victims have charged the nursing home with failure to screen employees and failure to supervise their actions to prevent abuse and neglect.

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The Orlando Sentinel reports of a tragic incident at the Homewood Residence that underscores the danger of inadequate care provided to elderly residents at many medical facilities. In this case, a 93-year old resident suffering from dementia died at the assisted living facility from severe esophagus burns after ingesting poisonous sodium hydroxide solution from a nearby dishwasher. Staff at the facility failed to secure the kitchen area or provide proper oversight of the resident leading to the deadly outcome.

This is an unfortunate example of the cost of wandering, a common problem with nursing home negligence. Wandering occurs when a resident is permitted to move throughout a facility without supervision, resulting in safety risks whose danger the resident is unable to appreciate.

Even more distressing is that the Homewood Residence had been fined by the state only a year and a half earlier for having inadequate staffing that lead to ten resident becoming sick with norovirus. The Center for Disease Control notes that norovirus is one of the leading causes of gastrointestinal illness and results in diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. It is highly contagious and especially dangerous in crowded environments, like nursing homes.

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The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the family of a disabled woman has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the Fox River Pavilion nursing home in Aurora, Illinois. The lawsuit also includes a nursing home resident who is alleged to have sexually assaulted the disabled victim. The nursing home lawsuit alleges that the 39 year old aggressor sexually assaulted and beat the victim in his room at the Aurora nursing home. This patient had been arrested multiple times and is suffering from bipolar disorder. The nursing home lawsuit claims that the staff should have more closely monitored this aggressor and failed to treat his anti-social behavior. It describes the victim as “bruised, battered and bloodied.” The man is now being held in jail on eight counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and battery. The Fox River Pavilion has been threatened by state and federal officials that their funding may be terminated.

This is a grave example of the violence that keeps occurring in Illinois nursing homes when older residents are mixed with those younger residents suffering from mental illness. Many times the nursing home staff does not have the proper training or resources to specifically care for the growing needs of the mentally ill population. Currently, the Illinois nursing home task force is working to create a better system for those people living in nursing homes with severe mental illness. If your loved one is experiencing difficulties at a mixed nursing home please consult a Chicago nursing home lawyer. To read more about this specific case, please click the link.

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An Illinois man recently filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against Glenbridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre in Niles, IL. According to an article in the Niles Herald –Spectator, the nursing home failed to treat the resident’s injured hand after he fell at the home. As a result of his injury, his right ring finger became gangrenous and required surgery to amputate his finger one month after his fall.

The resident fell on December 7, 2008, despite being at high risk for falls according to nursing home assessments. He injured his hand during the fall, but the nursing home staff failed to record his injury in their notes. Twelve days later, a nurse observed that his finger was swollen and required monitoring, but the nursing home again failed to record any notes on his injury. It was not until January 4, 2009 that staff discovered his finger was necrotic, and several days later his finger was amputated.

According to the complaint, the nursing home failed to supervise the resident and failed to discover or treat his injured finger in a timely manner. The Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti have handled a number of cases in which nursing homes failed to properly supervise residents. When nursing homes fail to adequately supervise residents, falls, elopement or nursing home abuse may occur and may lead to injury or death. Nursing homes are responsible for monitoring residents to protect them from harms such as these. Nursing home staff members are also responsible for evaluating and treating health problems in a timely manner. If Glenbridge staff had addressed the resident’s injury initially, they may have prevented it from progressing to the point of amputation.