Disturbing allegations were reported yesterday in an NBC Ten report. The story discussed a new nursing home abuse and neglect whistleblower lawsuit filed by former employees who make scathing allegations which, if true, reveal chronic problems at the long-term care facility. The Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys at our firm have worked on enough of these cases to know that the claims made in this suit, while shocking, are seen in many more facilities that most would assume.
The suit was filed by two certified nursing assistants and a nurse all of whom used to work at the facility. The complaint filed with the court initiating the suit alleges that the employees complained about the care of a resident at the facility with the state’s Health Department. Management at the nursing home was obviously not pleased by the reports. The suit claims that the whistleblowing employees faced harassment by other nursing home employees after voicing their concerns to the state’s health agency. Further, the suit claims that the employees had their hours continually cut to the point where they were unable to make a living. Eventually, in combination of the harassment and cut hours, two of the employees were forced to quit.
The nursing home abuse that the employees reported to the Health Department were sexual in nature. We previously blogged on the bizarre abuse allegations . Several women were accused of sexual abuse which allegedly involved the women abusing their own elderly mother.
Following the revelations the nursing home apparently took corrective actions so that their care plans accounted for this potential misconduct. However, our nursing home neglect lawyers know that facilities always claim to make changes. But claims are far different from real overhauls which actually improve the lives of residents.
Pressure to Keep Quiet
This harassment suit is a symbol of a common problem at these long-term care facilities: the pressure not to speak up about inadequate care. Direct care workers at these facilities are often incredibly hard-working, dedicated employees. Unfortunately, their job is made much more difficult as a result of decisions at the management level to cut staffing and pay to the point where it is almost impossible to provide the care each resident needs.
Chronic mistreatment is often the result.
However, employees are in a difficult situation, because reporting misconduct will obviously anger facility owners and operators. Particularly in today’s tough economy, employees are obviously loathe to lose their job, many have families who are counting on their income.
A variety of rules are in place to protect employees who try to do the right thing by reporting mistreatment. Yet, those rules notwithstanding, many owners still react wrongly following these revelations. Often that wrongdoing takes the form of using various techniques to pressure employees out of the position. This is yet another way that owners and operators can place profits over patient safety. These efforts must be fought against every step of the way.
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