Articles Posted in Community Involvement

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care issues a Public Service Award to a person or entity whose work has profoundly expanded coverage and public understanding of long-term care issues. This year one of the recipients is Jeff Kelly-Lowenstein and The Chicago Reporter, for their work showing widespread racial disparity in Illinois nursing homes and the human impact that is felt. Kelly-Lowenstein investigated the racial disparities in Illinois nursing homes, which “explained what these disparities actually mean to residents and made the issue understandable in human terms.” The nursing home article mentioned Levin & Perconti’s case against International Village in which a nurse failed to change a patient’s oxygen supply. The patient died shortly after he went an entire day without breathing on the ventilator. Jeff Kelly-Lowenstein’s article was a critical look at nursing home abuse in Illinois. To read more about the award, please click the link.

A support group for elderly people who have suffered abuse and neglect at nursing homes will start holding meetings. The group is called Families Against Nursing Home Abuse and it is coming together not only for emotional support, but to utilize the opportunity to turn a bad situation into a good outcome. The group was formed after the horrific elder abuse that occurred at a nursing home by teenage employees. The group hopes to ensure abuse and neglect situations are avoided and to make changes to national policies for elder care. To read the full story, click here.

Elder abuse occurs not only within bad nursing homes nationwide but also due to negligent care givers. Elder abuse is a concept the nation should be aware of as the aging population is on the rise. Elder abuse can be prevented with awareness, preventive measures and most importantly love. If you or someone you know has experienced elder abuse or elder neglect that has resulted in death, serious injury or financial injury you may want to contact an elder abuse attorney. As our nation becomes more aware of the problem even famous actors have been willing to promote the need for awareness. To see an announcement against abuse please watch the video below. Levin & Perconti is not responsible for the content and manufacture of this video; this video was obtained via YouTube.

Steven Levin of Levin & Perconti will present as part of a panel discussion on elder law and nursing home litigation issues at an event on June 19th at noon in the loop. The panel is hosted by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and will feature Professor Marguerite Angelari of Loyola University’s law school who directs their Elder Law Initiative, and Kathy Swanson, the supervising attorney of the Suburban Seniors and Ombudsmen projects for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, whom many of you know. Susan Feibus, a partner at Ungaretti & Harris, LLP will moderate the panel.
The event will be at Ungaretti & Harris, LLP, Three First National Plaza, 70 West Madison Street, downtown Chicago. Attendance is free and lunch is provided. Additionally, free CLE is available.

If you would like to attend, please visit the American Constitution Society’s website and RSVP:

Levin & Perconti will sponsor the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy’s Chicago Lawyer Chapter this coming year. ACS, an organization of national lawyers, judges, law professors, law students, seeks to ensure that the principles of human dignity, individual rights, equality and justice continue to hold their central place in American law.

Kane County, Illinois employs a prosecutor assigned mainly to cases of elder abuse including one of the most prevalent problems, financial abuse and exploitation. Kane County State’s Attorney John Barsanti has said that he hopes to improve community outreach as well and that elder abuse should be viewed like child abuse, where the very vulnerable can be taken advantage of. Illinois and US laws, however, seem to do much more to protect and advocate for children than for elders. Many elder abuse attorneys and advocates across the United States argue that elder abuse and nursing home abuse and neglect laws need to be stronger.

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The police department of Quincy, Illinois has a well-established Senior and Family Resource Center that has recently appointed a new elder services officer, Detective Tom Liesen. Elder abuse and neglect, home repair fraud, and financial exploitation of elders are some of the areas that Detective Liesen investigates. He has been trained in elder services and regularly attends elder rights conferences. Liesen also visits nursing homes to speak with residents and staff and has investigated cases of nursing home abuse and neglect. He said, “When you see the pictures of bedsores, it’s shocking. It’s sad because you realize that one little bit of care could have prevented that.” Detective Liesen provides a much needed service to his community and has set an example for other Illinois communities to follow. Protecting the elderly should be a priority in every town and city.

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At the North Shore Senior Center in Northfield, Illinois, Steve Levin spoke to a group of senior citizens on the dangers of Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect. Addressing the Men’s Club at the Center, Steve advised the seniors to take care in choosing the right nursing home. Specifically, Steve recommends investigating whether the home is frequently cited by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), visiting the home to see what is actually going on there, and inquiring of the home whether they have any liability insurance.

Steve also recommended reporting nursing home abuse and neglect to the IDPH and contacting a nursing home lawyer if you suspect a loved one is being abused and neglected.

There are many different forms of elder abuse and neglect and it is important to watch for signs of abuse in order to protect loved ones. Anyone over age 60 can be a victim of elder abuse. Elder abuse and neglect comes in many forms:

Physical abuse

Emotional abuse includes verbal assaults, threats, intimidation and harassment –Confinement is restricting an elderly person without their consent. Many believe that restraining seniors with Alzheimer’s or other illnesses should be restrained in order to prevent wandering off. This is illegal and there are better alternatives –Passive neglect is when a loved one, caregiver, nursing home or assisted living facility is unable to provide a senior with the care they need. This can include failing to provide medication at appropriate times, causing malnutrition or dehydration by forgetting meals, allowing falls due to lack of supervision, allowing bed sores to develop as a result of neglect, failing to monitor the hygiene of the elderly person and more.

Financial abuse is commonly targeted at senior citizens. Seminars are one way the elderly can be convinced that they need financial products they do not. Estate planning is one example of an avenue used to dupe elderly attendees. Whether senior centers that hold these sales presentations can be held responsible has been questioned in California. There, facilities that allow financial elder abuse to occur can fall in the sphere of responsibility. A senior center could be named co-defendant in a financial lawsuit. A class action lawsuit filed by California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform & the Institute on Aging claims that some companies acquired information about seniors’ finances through seminars and sent agents to their homes to sell financial products. It is now being questioned whether facilities that housed those seminars could also be implicated. Some senior centers in California have been warned to screen presenters in order to prevent being held responsible for financial elder abuse and exploitation.

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