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nursing home theft

Public Guardian Says Dementia Resident Was Victim of Financial Corruption for Nearly a Year

Attorneys Steve Levin and Mike Bonamarte continue to offer legal support alongside acting Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert for a 97-year-old woman with dementia who was financially exploited by her nursing home care staff for the sum of three quarters a million dollars. It was initially believed the aging resident with dementia and no living relatives, Grace Watanabe, had her life savings of $600,000 taken from her by five care workers at Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park, located at 1366 W Fullerton Ave in Chicago. New information now suggests the amount stolen is actually closer to $750,000.

The legal team for Ms. Watanabe is working hard to recover the stolen money, hopefully with the help of Symphony administrators in releasing all requested documents regarding the financial exploitation. So far, one of the thieves has agreed to repay $15,000 to the victim.

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for profit nursing home

Chicago School of Public Health Research Findings Conclude For-Profit Nursing Homes Need to Provide Better Care

Lee Friedman, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences in the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, recently led a study that found “community-dwelling adults 60 years old and older who need assistance with tasks related to daily living but do not live in a nursing home had the fewest number of clinical signs of neglect compared with those living in any type of nursing facility.”

These findings come as no surprise to the abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti though. For decades, it’s been known that residents receiving care in for-profit nursing homes are twice as likely to experience health issues caused by substandard care compared with those living in not-for-profit facilities or residents in their own homes among the general community. We share the same sentiments published in Friedman’s new report in the journal Gerontology.

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elderly wanderer

Understanding Why Nursing Home Residents Wander

1 in 10 Americans, older than 65, will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia. These individuals will experience a drastic decline in mental abilities that make it difficult to complete daily activities most take for granted such as eating, bathing, socializing, or even the ability to remember their own name or address. A majority of dementia victims will require an intense amount of supervised care and physical assistance to go about these routines. More often than not, families will put their trust in a nursing home center to manage the progressive, non-curable disease that will continue to worsen their loved ones until death. For individuals with who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities with dementia and have no family to check-in or watch out for them, receiving the best care can be difficult due to the staff responsible for the growing number of abuse and neglect cases impacting nursing home residents today.

Wandering represents one of many behavioral problems occurring in people with the dementia. In fact, six out of 10 people with dementia will wander and aimlessly move about within the facility or grounds without regard of their personal safety. For a better understanding of this phenomena, The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) has identified several different reasons for wandering in nursing homes as well as the different types of wandering.

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A Chicago psychiatric hospital responsible for treating children in state custody with the most serious psych conditions is facing serious allegations of sexual assault from its patients.

Chicago Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, located in the city’s Uptown neighborhood, has served as a lifeline for Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), taking foster children with psychiatric issues that other hospitals just wouldn’t treat. Since at least 2008 DCFS has been aware of incidents of loose supervision of its young patients, resulting in sexual abuse and assault by fellow residents and even staff. A government agency created to protect the safety and welfare of our children not only knows about these cases of abuse and neglect, but for at least 10 years have allowed these problems to persist, continuing to send children entrusted to their care to the hospital.

Allegations of sexual assault and abuse at the hospital reached a fever pitch this year. According to ProPublica, there have been 16 allegations of sexual and physical abuse and neglect against the hospital since January, including 2 allegations of sexual assault against the same 7-year-old girl. The girl alleges that on separate occasions, a 12-year-old fellow patient and an employee digitally penetrated her. Of these 16 allegations, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) found enough evidence to support 4 cases and are currently investigating 5 others. There was not enough evidence to substantiate the other 7 allegations.

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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.