Articles Posted in Hot Button Issues

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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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“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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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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A joint study by researchers from The University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, John H. Stroger Hospital, The Social Policy Research Institute and Illinois Citizens for Better Care has found that the type of facility matters when it comes to the quality of care your elderly loved one is receiving.

Chicago Hospital Records Show Elder Neglect Happening in Nursing Homes

The study ‘Association between Type of Residence and Clinical Signs of Neglect in Older Adults,’ examined 5 metropolitan Chicago-area hospital records of 1,149 elderly patients admitted from long term care settings (nursing homes) and community settings (home, assisted living, or senior living facilities). The data revealed that for-profit nursing homes had more instances of clinical neglect than any other setting. The facilities responsible for the transfer of these residents to nursing homes were all metropolitan Chicago nursing homes.

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In just one week, Levin & Perconti filed two separate lawsuits in Cook County Circuit Court against facilities on behalf of clients who allege each facility is responsible for failing to prevent and properly treat pressure sores. Pressure sores, also known as bed sores or decubitus ulcers, are wounds that develop on the skin and the underlying tissue from spending long periods of time bearing weight on the skin. Bony parts of the body are more likely to be affected because the skin and tissue in these areas is less dense.  Constantly sitting or lying down in the same position puts patients at risk for developing a pressure sore, a risk factor that requires vigilant medical staff who follow preventative measures that include frequent position changes of patients, as well as good nutrition and good hygiene. Pressure sores can quickly become serious as the infection spreads to the underlying tissue, muscle and bone.

According to Mayoclinic.org, risk factors for pressure sores include:

  • Inability to move independently
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“They get into trouble, they fix things up just enough to get back into compliance and then they let things slip again. This cycle just goes on for years. Meanwhile, there are people living in these places.”

-Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy to the Lexington Herald-Leader

A tragic story out of a northern Kentucky nursing and rehabilitation center has reignited a topic that we know causes a great deal of confusion and frustration for the loved ones of nursing home residents. How does one find out who the owners of a nursing home actually are and what their history of patient care is? The details of the wrongful death case of 45-year-old Bobby Crail help highlight the ability of nursing homes to repeatedly get away with maltreatment and even skirt financial and legal responsibility. It also highlights why if your loved one has been mistreated, abused, or neglected in a nursing home, you need an attorney who has both the experience and tenacity to successfully stand up to major corporations capable of these horrific behaviors.

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nursing home abuse and neglect

5 Causes of Nursing Home Resident Anxiety

Unfortunately, for many reasons’ anxiety happens more often by long-term care residents than by those who live in the general community. Several recent studies published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry identified common rates for anxiety disorders in long-term care settings escalated as high as 20 percent compared to just 1.4 percent of the elderly living at home. And while there are many causes for anxiety, some being natural occurrences in line with mental illnesses such as Parkinson’s Disease or dementia and medication side-effects, anxiety can also run parallel with emotional responses to anticipated pain, danger, illness, or fear.

  1. Pain
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Levin & Perconti has filed a lawsuit against Alden Lakeland Rehabilitation and Health Care Center on behalf of Michael Leonard, a former resident who was injured after allegedly falling on two separate occasions in 2016. Alden Lakeland transferred Mr. Leonard to Presence St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital where doctors discovered a subdural hematoma, nasal bone fractures, facial contusions and abrasions, loose front teeth, altered mental status, and dehydration.

The lawsuit alleges that Alden Lakeland failed in their promise to maintain and adhere to a care plan that would enable Mr. Leonard to improve his health at the facility, ultimately allowing a healthy and timely return home. Mr. Leonard and his attorney-in-fact, Patricia Cagney, are being represented by Levin & Perconti Partner Margaret Battersby-Black.

About Alden Lakeland and The Alden Network

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Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are responsible for the majority of care provided in nursing homes. AARP says “The job of a CNA can be difficult and hazardous. CNAs have demanding workloads and are often responsible for manually lifting and turning residents, which can cause lower back injuries. They can also be exposed to infections, diseases (such as tuberculosis), and physical violence from residents.”

Many of these nursing assistants are working incredibly long hours and multiple days in a row, pushing them into overtime. For many reasons, this already exhausting and demanding job is made even more so.

We’d like to share a current snapshot of the nursing assistant industry:

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nursing home infections

Painful Infections Remain Untreated When Chicago’s Nursing Homes are Understaffed

The Chicago Tribune recently published a scathing article on the inadequate measures taken by a Chicago nursing home to prevent a resident’s bedsores from turning into deadly infections. The story featured the negligence and wrongful death claims of an 85-year-old resident at Lakeview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on the city’s North Side. Family members of the resident told reporters that the facility’s staff never spoke of the “seriousness of the pressure sore, which led to sepsis, a severe infection that can quickly turn deadly if not cared for properly.”

Complications related to pressure sores often require intravenous antibiotics and sensitive care treatments to treat bloodstream infections and can result in painful surgeries to cut away dead skin around the wound. According to health officials, there are four types of infections that are often linked with sepsis including: lungs (pneumonia), kidney (urinary tract infection), skin (pressure wounds and bedsores) and gut. Out of the 6,000 Illinois nursing home residents who are hospitalized with sepsis each year, 1 in 5 won’t survive.