Many local families are resorting to covert tactics in order to confirm their suspicions about the treatment that their loved ones are receiving at area nursing homes. Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys understand the frustration that many families experience when they have concerns about this care but receive denials from caregivers. Hopefully increased use of recording devices-even those left open so as not to surprise the caregiver-will lead to a decrease in Illinois nursing home neglect and mistreatment.
The sad reality is that most nursing home care takes place hidden from view. Many residents at these facilities do not have the ability to adequately describe the type of care they are receiving or to explain to friends, family, and loved ones that they are being mistreated. Unfortunately even when residents are able to communicate clearly, they often fail to mention the harm that they have suffered as a result of unacceptable caregivers. There remains a sense of shame, fear, and embarrassment among victimized nursing home residents. They are often unsure what level of care they are entitled to and worry about the repercussions if they speak up. Consequently many do not speak up.
This circle of silence that surrounds many of these situations makes it vital for involved friends and family members to speak up on the victims behalf. Our Illinois elder abuse lawyers frequently explain to local residents the warning signs of mistreatment, urging follow up and observations whenever ones suspicions are aroused. It is perfectly acceptable for concerned family members to ask nursing homes staff members about their concerns and to receive honest answers about the quality of care provided. More often than not, when actual mistreatment is occurring the facility representatives will not admit it. It is in those situations when certain families members decide that recording the care received is their next best option.
As we’ve explained, some relatives place a camera in their relative’s room openly, letting caregivers know that it is there. At other times, a hidden camera is inserted into the resident’s room without nursing home employee awareness. The law on the acceptability of the hidden camera practice remains unclear, and so family members should be cautious about their conduct when it comes to recording their relatives.
Amazingly, even when caregivers know that there is a camera recording their conduct, some of them continue to provide inadequate treatment. We have shared stories on this blog of nursing home neglect caught on tape in these circumstances. Hidden cameras usually catch even more outlandish conduct. The Associated Press this week reported on the criminal trial of a nurse’s assistant caught on camera abusing a resident. In that case, a 78-year old Alzheimer’s resident was tossed around, thrown into a wheelchair, and forcefully returned to her bed by her caregiver. The victim’s son recorded the abuse on a camera that he had placed in an air purifier.
The forty five year old nursing assistant was ultimately charged with criminal patient abuse. This week the woman pled guilty to seven felony counts of patient abuse. As a result she will face more than ten years behind bars. Another nurse’s assistant also implicated in the conduct had earlier pled guilty to misdemeanor assault. She will likely spend six months in jail.
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