Articles Posted in Illinois Nursing Homes

Nationally Respected Attorneys

Three Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases That Gained National Attention in 2019

Levin & Perconti is a nationally renowned law firm concentrating in all types of nursing home abuse and neglect claims as well as personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death lawsuits. The firm’s founding partners, Steve Levin and John Perconti were among the first nursing home lawyers in Illinois and are highly regarded among their peers and adversaries for their outstanding work on behalf of victims of abuse and neglect.

Today, the Chicago based firm stands behind three decades of winning experience in defending residents who have had their rights violated and become injured while under the care of others. This is a brief review of three nursing home abuse and neglect cases represented by Levin & Perconti lawyers that made national and local news headlines in 2019.

Elderly Woman Attacked

Convict Walked Into Nursing Home and Sexually Assaulted Elderly Woman

A $50 million claim has been made against a California nursing home after a convict snuck in and sexually abused an 88-year-old woman, according to San Diego news source, NBC7. Lawyers for the victim’s family say shortly after 49-year-old Lusean Arline was released on parole, he welcomed himself through a Hillcrest nursing home’s unlocked back door and then proceeded to the second floor and sexually attack an elderly resident in her room. The report further explained that the woman was taken to a local hospital where she was treated for the rape, a broken arm, and emotional stress.

Nursing Home Negligence ‘Opened the Door’ to Violent Crime

Patient and Nurse Struggling

Good and Bad Nursing Homes Struggle with These 6 Issues

Certified skilled nursing facilities in Illinois are required to provide individualized care for residents. That is about 1,300 nursing homes responsible, both for-profit or not-for-profit, set to comply with about 1,500 state and federal standards. Yet violations related to abuse, safety and neglect as outlined by the Nursing Home Care Act occur each day, many undocumented or resolved. And unfortunately, trends in failing to comply can occur at both good and bad facilities.

The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti continue to identify these six common issues leading to nursing home abuse and neglect cited at facilities located throughout Illinois.

Senior Living and Music

New Study Finds Hopeful Link Between Patients with Dementia and Music

Dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, is “one of the only top-10 causes of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association in Illinois. The majority of individuals diagnosed with dementia symptoms grow to rely on care provided by a nursing home to help manage their daily activities, medications, financial needs, and assist them while residing in a safe environment.

For decades, physicians and families of nursing home residents have fought against the misuse of antipsychotic drugs to treat dementia symptoms rather than look to alternative treatments. Researchers now say findings related to how the human brain responds to a familiar song at super speed could be used to help calm patients battling dementia.

Nursing Home Lawsuit

History of Attorney’s Fees Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act

In the Winter 2020 edition of Trial Journal magazine, Levin & Perconti partners Margaret P. Battersby Black and Michael F. Bonamarte IV shared their review of how the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides for attorney’s fees and costs to successful litigants. In the article, the attorneys discuss the uncertainty many plaintiff’s attorneys have about the calculation of fees and costs allowed when taking on nursing home cases. This ambiguity has existed since Berlak v. Villa Scalabrini Home for the Aging, Inc., one of the first cases to interpret the statutory attorney’s fees provision of the Act, finding them mandatory.

  • The requirement that the licensee pay the prevailing resident’s attorney’s fees is mandatory as evidenced by the legislature’s use of the word “shall” in the statute. Ordinarily, the use of the word “shall” in a statute is indicative of a mandatory legislative intent.

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Levin & Perconti Partner Serving as Chair of The American Association for Justice’s Nursing Home Litigation Group

Michael F. Bonamarte IV, a partner at Levin & Perconti has committed to supporting The American Association for Justice’s Nursing Home Litigation Group as the 2019-2020 term Chairman. Bonamarte, who will collaborate alongside many other knowledgeable members, will be leading a crucial role in advocating for safety and accountability in nursing home facilities.

“We provide our members — who represent our nation’s seniors and their families — with education on developments in case law and regulation and foster collaboration so that members can share knowledge and strategies,” Bonamarte recently told the Chicago Law Bulletin. “The group enables lawyers to stand up for the most vulnerable people in our society. It is my honor to take the reins as chair for the 2019-2020 term and I look forward to continuing the group’s work in various areas.”

drug abuse

7 Antipsychotic Drugs Used and Abused by Illinois Nursing Homes

Antipsychotic drugs are sometimes given to patients living in nursing homes to calm their behaviors. But some of the most sensitive nursing home patients may be receiving antipsychotic drugs, even though there is no diagnosis of psychosis. For decades, this has been a growing problem for U.S. nursing homes and staff continue to wrongfully use the powerful medications in hopes to make their jobs easier. The misuse of these dangerous drugs is also known as a chemical restraint.

These are seven of the most widely used antipsychotic drugs abused by Illinois nursing homes today.

Happy Nursing Home Resident

Illinois Lawmaker Introduces Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act

On December 5, 2019, U.S. Representatives Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act. This legislation would prohibit long-term care facilities from requiring or soliciting residents to enter into pre-dispute, mandatory, binding arbitration agreements. The Obama administration banned forced arbitration by nursing homes in 2016, but the Medicare and Medicaid Division stripped the rights from residents on July 16, 2019, by overturning the ban.

Long-term care residents should never be forced, pressured, threatened, or have it suggested they waive their right to court proceedings before a dispute even arises. And at Levin & Perconti, we applaud these lawmakers, especially Illinois Congresswoman Schakowsky, in seeking ways to reintroduce forced arbitration protections that support the legal rights and well-being of elderly Americans. These are our most vulnerable citizens who are being impacted by the nation’s abuse and neglect epidemic running ramped in U.S. nursing homes each day. Residents deserve their day in court should they become injured, ill, or fatally harmed due to someone else’s negligence.

Empty Wheelchair

Nursing Home Resident Evictions Continue Due to Medicaid Funding

Nationally, long-term care ombudsmen, who advocate for elderly and disabled residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, received 10,610 complaints about discharges and transfers in 2017, up from 9,192 in 2015. Many of these complaints arise when a facility asks or pressures a resident to leave with “no due process rights, no notice” even though an advanced notice is required.

We agree with the importance of the recent news report by NBC launched over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, that some nursing home facilities illegally evict residents when their Medicaid funding runs short and replace them with short-stay Medicare residents. Still, unfortunately, skilled nursing facilities that discharge residents improperly isn’t anything new to us at Levin & Perconti. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates, “as many as one-third of all residents in long-term care facilities are involuntarily discharged.” We have been sharing concerns and representing families on this issue for some time.

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Your Holiday Nursing Home Visit Could Be Lifesaving

During the busy holiday season, an already understaffed nursing home care team becomes even more limited, leaving many needs of nursing home residents to go unmet. For the workers who are on staff, they become stressed and easily overwhelmed, creating a rise in the number of incidences of neglect and abuse of residents. This season, we encourage the family and friends of those residing in skilled nursing facilities to make it a priority to visit frequently and unexpectedly check-in on those responsible for providing care. Even a weekly call or stop during this time may be enough to ensure the quality in the services you expect for your mother, father, sister or grandparent is being met.

Unfortunately, even substandard care is sometimes coated, and dangerous abuse and neglect symptoms are hard first to recognize. During your visits, be sure to look for these troublesome signs of maltreatment provided by the Nursing Home Abuse Center. Be sure to report any findings or concerns you have immediately.

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