Every week more and more stories come in regarding nursing home abuse and neglect that is caught on tape. It is understandable that more families are installing these cameras into the rooms of their elder loved ones, because, as our Chicago nursing home attorneys know, the vast majority of misconduct at these homes is never reported. Seniors are often unable to properly explain the quality of the care they receive, and they rarely understand the exact quality to which they are entitled. As a result, deficient care often goes unnoticed unless those outside the home are made aware of it.
In most cases those outside observers-like friends and family members of the residents-are never made fully aware of the care the seniors get on a daily basis. Cameras, though controversial, allow those observers a way to check up on the moment to moment care. In many cases what relatives find when they review those tapes in stomach-turning, often leading to nursing home neglect lawsuits, disciplinary actions, and even criminal arrests.
According to reports in About Lawsuits on this latest case, the family of a 78-year old Alzheimer’s resident placed a camera in the room of their loved ones after having concerns about the care that she was receiving. What the family found was shocking. At least three female nursing home staff members were apparently found on the tapes engaging in a string of abusive and humiliating care. The Alzheimer’s resident was physically abused and the staff members openly mocked her. In addition, the employees apparently forced the woman to walk around for at time topless.
When the family showed the tape to facility officials, they did nothing. Upon the facility management’s ignoring of the clear evidence of abuse, the family went to local authorities. As a result, the three staff members involved in the incident were arrested on charges of abuse and assault. In addition, the facility in question initially lost its license to operate. However, the license was temporarily reinstated pending the facility’s appeal of the state’s decision to terminate the license. Each of the staff members in question pled not guilty and are awaiting trial next month.
The nursing home lawsuit filed in the aftermath of the incident claims that the facility was negligent by failing to properly train workers to ensure adequate care was received by residents at all times. In addition, the suit cited the negligent nursing home for chronic understaffing-a common problem at these facilities which is at the root of many instances of abuse and neglect. As in this case, these caregiving problems implicate the common law as well as state law (and sometimes federal law). The judiciary and local policymakers have long-recognized that seniors who live in nursing homes and all those who reside in assisted-living facilities are owed a basic duty of care by the ones who are paid to provide them aid. When that care is insufficient, the victims and their families can file suit holding the homes accountable for failing to meet the standards of these various legal requirements.
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