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“Imagine someone in the inside of a car with the doors locked and the windows rolled up and that person is nonverbal and can’t communicate. And you leave that person in the car until they die.

That’s what happened to our client, but it happened in a health care facility instead of a car.”  Attorney Steve Levin

https://youtu.be/e966vpOoesg

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 nursing home theft

Symphony of Lincoln Park Workers Caught Stealing $600,000 from Resident with Dementia

Levin & Perconti attorneys Steve Levin and Mike Bonamarte have begun work with acting Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert on a local financial exploitation case involving a 97-year-old resident with cognitive and memory disorders who required assistance with her finances and trusted the staff workers at Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park, a senior facility where she had been living since 2010. The Cook County Public Guardian has since been appointed the temporary guardian after receiving news by the Illinois Department of Aging and Adult Protective Services of the financial exploitation allegations and suspicious spending between the resident’s bank account and facility employees. The Department receives more than 8,200 reports of financial exploitation involving nursing home residents each year.

It’s believed the aging resident, who previously led a life at an Arizona based Japanese internment camp during World War II against her will, and then worked hard in a career with the federal government, had earned a life savings of $600,000 which she was using to help care for herself at the Symphony facility. Because of her failing independence and need for mental health support, she required assistance in managing her savings but instead a group of workers took advantage. Today, five Symphony workers have been accused of spending their way through the woman’s personal life savings in a yearlong thieving scheme that included cashing checks, making large ATM withdrawals and accessing her funds without her consent. According to the lawsuit:

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abuse in hospitals

Uptown Chicago Psychiatric Hospital “Called Out” After Reports of Sexual Abuse and Neglect Involving Child Patients

Although not surprised, the entire legal team at Levin & Perconti has been cringing over the recent ProPublica Illinois investigation into Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, a private psychiatric facility located in the northside of the city. The initial ProPublica findings involve both claims of sexual abuse and related disruptions grown from the ongoing neglect of young patients in the hospital’s Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Program. The allegations are horrific to say the least. Even so, dozens of children have bravely stepped forward and shared their personal stories of being raped and sexually abused by staff and patients, while others have been physically assaulted. Many of the hospital’s hotline complaints in just the last few months were triggered from laxed staff who created scenes of abusive sexual activity (most forced), and inappropriate or violent altercations between children and teenage patients.

Federal inspection reports in 2018, show the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has investigated 16 allegations of abuse and neglect, many sexual in nature, at the hospital between staff and child patients, and other hospital residents just this year. As the Chicago Tribune recently reported, some pending investigations include these sickening allegations:

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It’s a tragic end to a story that should have never happened. On Monday, Chicago Police discovered the body of Ernestine Booker, a 67-year-old woman suffering from dementia who disappeared from her Bronzeville nursing home on October 23rd. Ms. Booker’s body was found at the Sykes Center, a now-closed Advocate outpatient healthcare center at 2545 S. King Drive, approximately 2.5 miles from the nursing home from which she disappeared. The cause of death has not yet been released, but Chicago Police said there is no evidence of a homicide.

While the full details of her disappearance have not been shared with the public, we do know that Ms. Booker left her nursing home unnoticed around 11 a.m. Her family notified the police that same day and Chicago police asked for the public’s assistance in locating her.

When families place their loved ones in the care of a nursing home, the minimum expectation is that the nursing home will keep track of their whereabouts. As we shared in an earlier post, residents with dementia are more prone to wandering a facility or eloping (leaving).

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nursing home abuse lawyers

Inappropriate Social Media Posts Involving Nursing Home Residents 

Over the last decade, as the popularity of social media platforms increased, so have incidents which workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers shared inappropriate, abusive, degrading or embarrassing photos and videos that may also sexually exploit residents. For the workers who have been caught, they admit initiating or participating in these acts to being stressed and overworked. Whatever the disgusting motive may be, it violates the residents’ rights, and may be actionable in civil court.

As most states wait for The Office for Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enforce the federal patient privacy law known as HIPAA related to social media exposure, a simple checklist was developed by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) for nursing homes to follow. This checklist should be reviewed by all nursing home employees often so residents’ rights to privacy (at-the-least) are upheld. Family members should start asking to review this list upon entering a new partnership with a home on behalf of their loved one.

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nursing home illness

Last Flu Season Was Deadliest for Nursing Home Residents

During the 2017-2018 flu season, an estimated 80,000 Americans died and 900,000 were hospitalized, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), making last year one of the deadliest our country has even seen with the elderly and very young children affected most severely. A new study from Brown University School of Public Health reports that a more immunogenic vaccine, such as the adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV), can improve clinical outcomes in nursing home patients compared with a non-adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine.

According to the CDC, older adults with weaker immune systems also may have a lower protective immune response after flu vaccination compared to younger, healthier people.

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A 67-year-old female nursing home resident suffering from dementia has been missing from her Bronzeville nursing home since Tuesday. She was last seen at the facility in the 400 block of E. 41st Street, near E. 41st St and Cottage Grove Avenue on Tuesday, October 23rd at 11 a.m.

The south side nursing home from which she disappeared has not been named.

The family is asking for the public’s help in locating Ernestine Booker. She is a black woman, 67 years old, 5 foot 3 inches tall, and approximately 150 pounds. Chicago Police say she was reported as last wearing a large red knit hat, a denim jacket, black pants and black shoes.  Her photo can be seen here.

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A New Jersey long term care facility is the at the center of an adenovirus outbreak that has claimed the lives of 7 children and sickened at least 11 others.

Wanaque Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Haskell, New Jersey, has stopped taking new patients but is facing criticism after it was revealed that a health inspection over the weekend found hand washing deficiencies. It is unknown when the spread of the virus began, but the facility notified the New Jersey Department of Health of the outbreak on October 9th. The CDC is also investigating the outbreak.

NBC News says that the facility was also cited in 2016 and in 2017 for other infection prevention deficiencies, including issues with hand washing, improper storage of syringes, failure to disinfect surfaces and syringes properly and the unsanitary storage of oxygen tank tubing.

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“We’ve seen almost every kind of abuse and neglect that can go on in a nursing home. This kind of raises the bar.”                                                                                                                                                                                   -Levin & Perconti Attorney Margaret Battersby Black

Levin & Perconti filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of a 76-year-old man who was humiliated in a video that was live-streamed on Facebook. The video shows 6 employees of Holland Home, the South Holland, IL nursing home in which victim Reggie “Doe” had been a resident for 8 months. Four of the employees shown in the video were named in the lawsuit and are identified as nurse aides at the facility.

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October 14-20 is International Infection Prevention Week, a week in which government and health-focused organizations push to educate both the public and professionals on infection prevention and risk factors, as well as identifying symptoms and treatment options.

The elderly are already vulnerable to infections due to weakened immune systems, but those residing in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are even more so. Sharing close quarters makes the transmission of infections easier, compounded by the fact that elderly nursing home residents often have open wounds that serve as prime routes of entry for infections.

The CDC shares these facts about infections in long term care facilities: