Through the years our Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys have learned unequivocally that many different issues related to nursing home management ultimately affect the care received by seniors at the home. It is sometimes easy to make simplistic assumptions about this issue, usually pinning the problem on laziness of care workers. That is often a grossly inaccurate picture of why and how seniors are mistreated.
For one thing, when nursing home neglect is caused by clear caregiver neglect, the underlying problem is often understaffing. Direct line care workers are not capable of being superhuman. They cannot be in more than one place at a time and they cannot rush various caregiving steps and still do it safely. As a result, where there are not enough caregivers for the number of seniors in a home, then it is almost inevitable that problems will arise–even when caregivers are doing the best they can.
Of course the fact that caregivers are doing the best they can does not mean that a nursing home neglect lawsuit should not be filed. On the contrary the suit is likely more important than ever to demand accountability from facility owners and operators and push for systematic changes to improve care for other residents.
However, this recognition does mean observers should keep these cases in context. They are not necessarily an indictment of the quality of services provided by front-line care workers. These employees often make the least, work the most, and receive the majority of blame. This is unfortunate. More focus should be on owners, operators, and executives and their drive for profits above all else.
For example, the Sacramento Bee recently published a story highlighted some misconduct by a nursing home executive. The report covered the criminal sentencing of a nursing home company executive who evaded taxes and accepted kickbacks from contractors. The defendant pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and two counts of tax evasion. A former director of maintenance and renovations for a large nursing home company, he was in charge of various operations for over 40 nursing homes and used his position to grease his own pocket. He was eventually sentenced to five years in prison.
The case is a reminder of the fact that for so many of those working in these companies, profit trumps everything else. Obviously businesses are striving to make money, but when it comes to businesses upon whom senior’s very lives depend, it is critical that profit-motives not throw reasonable care out the window.
Much of the problem stems from the type of culture that is allows to thrive at a home. When corners are cut, safeguards are ignored, and residents are not prioritized, it is easy for those working at the establishment to think unreasonable care is tolerated. It is then only a matter of time before a resident is severely injured unnecessarily.
If you or a loved one may have suffered injury as a result of neglect, please contact our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers to see if we can help. Civil lawsuits are important ways to hold facilities accountable and help prevent others from suffering similar harm.
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