Articles Posted in Abuse

nursing home abuse

Nursing Home Chaplain Agrees to Guilty Plea Deal in Sex Abuse Case

The Good Samaritan Home of Quincy is a place for residents to live independently but also provides environments for assisted living, skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, and dementia care. On Thursday, August 29, a former chaplain of the home James E. Riley, appeared in court to waive his right to a jury trial after a case was opened accusing him of sexually abusing two residents of the nursing home. The victims are ages 88 and 78, and the assaults are said to have happened at the Good Samaritan Home, located at 2130 Harrison Street in Quincy, Illinois, in May of this year.

A negotiated plea of guilty and sentencing hearing is expected to include two counts of criminal sexual abuse, one count of criminal sexual assault, and one count of predatory criminal sexual assault through the use of force.

Chicago News – CBS 2 News at 10:00 covers the story of Margaret Collins.

Nursing home resident Margaret Collins, a 91 year old woman with dementia, was the subject of repeated harassment from two nursing home employees. The upsetting viral video has caused a backlash of anger against elder abuse and an outpouring of support for Margaret Collins and her family.

A 29-year-old woman in a vegetative state has given birth to a baby boy in a Phoenix-area nursing home. The woman, a confirmed member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, has lived in a vegetative state since she was 15 and nearly drowned. The birth was a complete surprise to staff, not only because her condition makes her unable to consent or engage in sexual activity, but because they were completely unaware of her pregnancy until she went into labor.

Through their lawyer, the woman’s family released a statement, saying in part “The family is obviously outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda Healthcare.”

Facility Has Persistent Low Ratings, but Promises to Take Accountability for Rape

Sometimes you have to see elder abuse with your own eyes before appreciating the many ways that seniors are mistreated in our community each and every day. Sadly, there are virtually no limits to the manner in which others exploit vulnerable elders (often their own relatives) for their own personal gain. Living out one’s golden years in comfort should not be a privilege only for a certain few. However, for far too many, their last years are filled with pain, sadness, and neglect.

Some seniors are even forced to spend their time working bizarrely for other’s gain. For example, a community was shocked recently when a video made its way onto YouTube suggesting that a man was forcing his elderly mother to panhandle at a mall for hours on end day after day.

Elder Abuse Video Spreads

One of Chicago’s dubious distinctions–especially in recent years–is the high prevalence of murders in the city. We frequently top the list for homicides each year, and, sadly, many of those crimes go unsolved. This statistic has made headlines in recent months in the context of gun violence. Many victims are killed with handguns, often as a result of gang activity.

But it is a mistake to assume all of these crimes are related to young men involved in gang activity. In fact, a Chicago Tribune story earlier this month reminds us that some victims are on the exact opposite end of the spectrum–seniors or adults with disabilities who are killed, often as a result of abuse.

Unidentified Victim

Our attorneys are proud to work with residents in Chicago and throughout Illinois after poor nursing home care leads to injury. In most cases the process is initiated by the family of the resident. Sadly, families often only learn of problematic care after an incident which causes harm–a nursing home fall, the development of pressure sores, an attack by another resident, or similar accident. When that happens the legal system usually allows the family to recover compensation for the harm irrespective of possible state and federal sanctions for any care violations.

When helping families with these matters, the final resolution in our cases is often a settlement. These are agreements between the parties to resolve the matter without the need to have the issue decided by a judge or jury. Settlements are an efficient way to resolve disputes, ensure fairness, and provide incentive to ensure proper care 100% of the time.

New Illinois Nursing Home Settlement

The new Russell Sage e-book on long-term care (viewed here), includes a chapter on the payment systems for these crucial services. It is impossible to separate programs to tackle the elimination of neglect and abuse without taking finances into account. Who pays for this care, how they pay for it, and how the funds are used is at the center of all discussions about quality of care.

In general, long-term care services–including stays in a nursing home or via at-home support–are paid for by insurance. Some individuals have private long-term care insurance while others (a majority) rely on public insurance programs (Medicaid) to pay for the care. It is undeniable that public coffers are stretched to the bone. No one is quite sure how the Medicaid system will be able to continue paying for the current level of services indefinitely, especially considering the growing number of seniors who will likely need long-term care paid for via Medicaid in the future. However, there has yet to be a strong push for increased use of private insurance to ease the burden on the public. Some hope this changes.

Private Long-Term Care Insurance

Our Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys know first hand the devastating effects that result from nursing home abuse and neglect. It seems as though almost daily new reports are published or lawsuits filed on behalf of those who sustain serious injuries, sometimes even death, as a result of negligent or careless caregivers. There are many tell-tale signs of the various symptoms those who are being neglected show. These signs and symptoms include, but are not limited, to the following: malnutrition, dehydration, frequent falls, pressure sores, unexplained injuries, behavior change, overmedication, as well as the inability of the caretaker to explain the resident’s condition.

The signs of malnutrition and dehydration go hand in hand. Malnutrition results from an inadequate or unbalanced diet, while dehydration occurs when a person loses more fluids than he or she takes in. Both symptoms can result from improper nursing home care and eventually lead to more severe injuries within the body. According to, malnutrition and/or dehydration commonly leads to nursing home resident’s rapid weight loss. While in many instances elderly weight loss is unavoidable, improper nourishment (whether it be food or water) is one of the most common signs of nursing home abuse.

Another unfortunately frequent symptom of nursing home abuse and neglect is pressure sores. describes pressure sores (commonly referred to as “bedsores”) as an area of skin or tissue that has been injured or broken down. This occurs when a resident sits or lies in a certain position for too long without shifting weight – this pressure results in a decreased blood supply to the area. The act of negligence falls onto the nursing home when they fail to consistently reposition, as well as, clean the residents. Due to inadequate nursing home staffing and training, the frequency of pressure sores in on the rise with many being left untreated. Failure to treat pressure sores subsequently results in infection and in some cases even death.

The examples of nursing home abuse and negligence that typically attract the most attention are dramatic stories of poor care that shock the senses. From negligently trapping residents inside cafeteria freezers to allowing ghastly sexual assaults, these major incidents deservedly send ripples of outrage throughout the community.

Yet there also exists more persistent negligence that does not culminate in a single incident but also has debilitating effects on a nursing home resident’s quality of life. A common example of that form of abuse is chemical restraints-the daily dose of drugs given to residents that put them in a perpetual stupor. It makes it easier for nursing home staff to monitor the resident but drastically limits the individual’s ability to enjoy their life.

The Star Tribune reported on recent attempts to end the overuse of drugs to control residents. The story explains how many residents are constantly lethargic with little interest in interacting with their surroundings. One nurse explained, “You see that in just about any nursing home. But that kind of quality of life is that?”

To help fight the problem the nurse began a program that is replacing drugs with alternatives, including aromatherapy, massages, exercise, and other activities involving giving personal attention to the resident. The results have been impressive. Antipsychotic drugs have been completed eliminated from rotations and antidepressants are now used only half as much as the facility.

Not only is the program working to improve the lives of residents, it is also eliminating the risk posed by overuse of drugs. Many drugs are used “off label” or for reasons other than their intended use. Instead of treating symptoms, the drugs are used to cover up other symptoms. It is a dangerous cycle that claims far too many lives.
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Many posts to this nursing home blog involve reporting on the latest news of abuse and neglect at Chicago nursing homes as well as other facilities across the country. Our hope is that by sharing the stories of heartbreak, more individuals will pay closer attention to possible abuse at facilities near them. In the end, the goal is to have less seniors fall victim to lackluster care, neglect, and intentional abuse.

The same sentiments were shared in a recent letter to the editor published in the Lancaster EagleGazette. In it the writer explains her disappointment in treatment received by a loved one at a facility that she thought would provide the utmost care. Her grandmother entered the facility to rehab after two weeks in the hospital. At the time of the admission the woman was able to provide a lot of basic care for herself-fed herself, walked on her own, and spoke clearly. But day in and day out the care provided by nursing home staff sapped her will to fight her ailments.

The writer shares the victim’s own words about her care: “When I put on my call light, no one ever comes, and I have to use the bathroom in my pants. […] They throw me around like a rag doll.”

Eventually the woman’s buttocks began breaking down with bedsores and she had bruises all over her body. She left the nursing home and passed away at a skilled care facility within a month.
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