Articles Posted in Failure to Report Abuse

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The Ames Tribune reported last week on new allegations of sexual misconduct at an Ames, Iowa nursing home. The state department charged with inspecting the nursing facilities noted a new regulatory violation in September-only the latest in a string of problems at the nursing home.

The nursing home, Abington on Grand, was recently fined by the state for its latest violations. Specifically, staff at the facility completely ignored inappropriate sexual activity between two residents-seeming to find humor in the event. In one instance, two staff members were laughing while telling a third employee to examine one resident’s room. Upon entering the room the employee saw two residents naked from the waist down, engaging in compromising sexual activity. Both the male and female resident had been declared cognitively impaired, unable to make decisions for themselves.

Besides that instance there were dozens of other reported issues involving inappropriate sexual activity between residents. The nursing home had no policy in place to deal with resident-to-resident sexual behavior. Also, staff members had never been trained in the appropriate way to handle these events.

The complete disregard of regulations seems to be a pattern at the facility, with problems repeatedly documented by state investigators. In 2007 the nursing home was named one of the 54 worst facilities in the country by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
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The nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti have handled all types of abuse and neglect lawsuits against Alden nursing homes throughout Illinois for many years. Today’s Chicago Tribune tells the story of at least thirteen children in the Chicago area who fell victim to abuse and neglect at Alden Village North, a nursing home located at 7464 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago.

The Tribune’s article exposes the sad truth that abuse and neglect not only happens to the elderly living in Illinois nursing homes, but also to younger residents who require ongoing medical treatment that they cannot receive at home. Parents and family members place their trust with nursing home staff to care for their loved ones, but unfortunately neglect and abuse occur, often due to negligent hiring and short-staffing. One of the victims in the Tribune article was just two years old when he died of asphyxiation because staff at the facility failed to properly monitor his tracheotomy tube for over 3.5 hours. The child had a habit of playing with the tube but staff did nothing to prevent this behavior and did not notify his physician of his actions.

In another sad case, a nine-year-old boy who suffered from severe cognitive deficits died due to nursing home neglect. Staff failed to properly care for his g-tube, failed to notice a change in his condition and failed to communicate these changes to his doctor. As a result, he died from bowel obstruction and an infection at a local hospital.
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An elderly abuse lawsuit alleges that a housekeeper cleaned out most of her client’s accounts. It alleges that she took more than $1.4 million from a retired couple with serious medical ailments. The elderly abuse lawsuit claims that the woman bought fancy cruises and a quickie wedding in Vegas with the money she stole from the seniors. In the couple, one had Alzheimer’s and the other was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. This case highlights the growing problem of financial elder abuse. The elderly are particularly susceptible to the financial scams because they often feel isolated and are quick to trust new friends. In one county alone 1,141 cases of financial elder abuse occurred. This does not count other allegations of elder abuse and neglect. To read more about the financial abuse, please click the link.

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Elderly self-neglect is associated with a nearly six-fold increase in the risk of dying within a year. Elder self-neglect and abuse are serious, common and under recognized. There are an estimated 2 million cases of elder self-neglect and abuse in the United States. When elderly persons threatens their own health and safety by refusing to adequately feed, shelter or clothe themselves they are committing elder self-neglect. The Chicago Health and Aging Project created a report saying that of the 1,544 participants in a 9,000 study were guilty of elder self-neglect and 113 participants were reported for elder abuse. Participants with reported or confirmed self-neglect had a one-year mortality rate of 246.36 deaths per 100 person-years and mortality for participants after one year was 9.46 per 100 person-years. This is compared to a mortality rate of 5.01 deaths per 100 persons-years for participants who did not report self neglect. Self neglect is also a marker for increased mortality regardless of cognitive or physical function. The authors of the study suggest that high-functioning elders might be more capable of recognizing elder abuse and seeking help to end such abuse. To read more about the elder study, please click the link.

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According to the Chicago Tribune, a nursing home was recently fined $7,000 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for “its indifference to complaints of sexual abuse against elderly residents.” The nursing home neglected to investigate an incident in which a male staff member was suspected of nursing home abuse and the nursing home also failed to report the suspected abuse to the state. The article did not provide specific details surrounding the suspicions of nursing home abuse.

To read the Chicago Tribune article about the suspected nursing home abuse, follow the link.

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A lawsuit has been filed for the wrongful death of a nursing home resident. The 33 year old victim, who had suffered a traumatic brain injury at a young age as a result of being beaten, died and the nursing home did not immediately inform the family. When the body was exhumed, it was found that he was likely to have died after being struck in the head with a shower head nozzle. The lawsuit for wrongful death as a result of this nursing home abuse was filed against the state, because he had been placed under the state’s care. The lawsuit is also against his caseworker for her negligence in monitoring his care. The victim had been in a near vegetative state following his brain injury and had been cared for by his mother and his half-sister, until the state determined the sister was not properly caring for him and placed him under the State’s care. For the full story click here.

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Statistics show that elder neglect can be hidden, hard to prove and even underreported. A state’s Department of Children and Families found that adults make up about 18 percent of their abuse cases. Most of those involved the elderly or people who looked senior. Administrators are worried that there are more cases of elder abuse, but since elders can refuse help and since they rarely leave the house, the abuse often goes unreported. Many elderly don’t even go to the doctors that often, and that might be the only time they’re out of their homes. On case of reported neglect involved the death of a 90-year-old woman at a nursing home. The woman had a large infected sacral wound that had evolved and was not treated properly at the nursing home. The medical opinion was that this wound eventually led to her death. Another investigation found a 95-year-old woman’s death was the result of neglect. These numbers show that people must report elder abuse more often to ensure that nursing homes are properly caring for the seniors. To read the full story, click here.

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A nursing home reform advocate points out that there are many clear cases of nursing home abuse that continue to be seen and that there need to be changes in the law and changes in the way in which nursing home patients are protected from abuse. He also mentions that many of these abuses fail to get reported to the authorities and that even the agency responsible for monitoring for abuse and neglect has claimed that this abuse is not happening in places where it is clear that it is. He suggests several reforms that could be made in the law to help protect against this abuse and neglect such as background checks being performed on all of the employees and requiring nursing homes to obtain liability insurance. The husband of a victim of nursing home abuse is quoted saying that patients in nursing homes have no more rights than inmates in prisons. The issue of nursing home abuse and neglect is also prevalent in Chicago, Illinois. For the full story click here.

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Four teenage nursing assistants were found to have been verbally, sexually and emotionally abusing residents. The girls were supposedly abusing patients that have Alzheimer’s so bad that they wouldn’t be able to say it or remember what had happened. They girls would abuse the residents and then laugh when the residents became upset. The abuse was cited as spitting in mouths, poking breasts and nipples, putting fingers in mouths, touching and tapping genitals, sticking rear ends in faces, rubbing buttocks, rubbing penises, touching perinea, anal insertion, holding residents down, and teasing them. They girls were terminated when officials became aware of their conduct, and employees who were aware of the nursing home abuse and failed to report have also been terminated. This shocking story is an example of nursing home abuse and negligence that can happen anywhere, including Chicago. To read the full story, click here.

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Governor Rod Blagojevich launched the 4th annual “Break the Silence” campaign and declared July to be Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Illinois. The campaign is designed to increase reporting of suspected abuse of elders, an increasingly challenging problem in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities. “Our seniors have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and to feel safe and secure. Unfortunately, many seniors find themselves victims of abuse and neglect which is unacceptable,” said Governor Blagojevich. “The sooner we know about a case of abuse, the sooner we can put a stop to it. But in order to keep up the fight against abuse and neglect, we need everyone to do their part. If you suspect a case of elder abuse report it. Elder Abuse prevention will help keep thousands of seniors safe each year.”

It is estimated that 80,000 elders in Illinois have been abused in some way, either physically, mentally, financially, or simply through neglect. Since the inception of the campaign, reporting of elder abuse has increased by 16%. However, a majority of incidents of elder abuse remain unreported.

For more information, click here.