A foundational element necessary to prevent Illinois nursing home neglect is adequate nursing home staffing. All local residents move into these facilities specifically because they need close medical care, assistance with basic tasks, and close supervision. However, if there are not enough care workers at a facility then there is no way for resident to receive the timely care that they need and have a right to expect.
Improper supervision is a unique form of Illinois nursing home neglect, because it arises even when the individual employees act in an appropriate manner at all times. This is perhaps one of the clearest examples of how the decisions by nursing home administrators affect the day-to-day care at these facilities. Without a commitment to proper staffing levels, then it is often impossible for every resident to receive quality treatment.
The consequences of inadequate staffing are varied, as understaffing may result in a wide range of problems. For example, the Madison Record reported this week on a new Illinois nursing home lawsuit filed by a woman who claims her husband’s death was caused in part by understaffing at his nursing facility. The complaint which initiated the lawsuit alleges that staff members failed to properly monitor the man’s prothrombin time and international normalization ration. These forms of measurement were necessary to ensure that the victim’s blood was clotting properly, to prevent liver damage, and to prevent other medical complications. As a result of the failure to check these levels, the man’s prothrombin time and international normalization ration levels spiked with severe consequences. The resident’s blood thinned, he developed severe rectal bleeding, and eventually lapsed into hypovolemic shock. He also went into cardiac arrest. The man ultimately died because of these complications.
Failure to adequately monitor these levels is an egregious example of Illinois nursing home neglect. There is simply no excuse for the nursing home employees to allow deadly complications to develop because medical levels were not checked in a timely fashion. As the complaint alleges, the likely cause of this oversight was the fact that there were not enough employees in the facility to provide the level of care that each resident needed. The complaint explains how the facility likely failed to properly consider the number of residents in the facility and the number of nurses and aides needed to maintain a reasonable level of care.
If a facility is simply unable to pay for the services of more employees, then they must ensure they do not accept more residents then they can provide for. Unfortunately, many facilities are driven by an effort to maximize profit. They therefore accept all residents, or residents with special needs, even if they do not have the resource to ensure that the resident receives the close monitoring that they need.
Our Chicago nursing home lawyers are very experienced in helping families who have been harmed because of understaffed nursing homes. In fact, nursing home lawsuits remain one of the few ways that these profit-driven businesses are forced to enact changes to improve their level of care. Each individual that comes forward and demands that changes be made helps move the ball forward and prevent other vulnerable seniors from falling victim to negligence caused by understaffing.
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