A troubling story was recently reported in the Berkshire Eagle discussing elder abuse at the Springside Nursing Home. Two nursing home employees were fired in the latest incident which occurred last week. A third employee was fired earlier this month following a different incident of resident abuse. As our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti are well aware, many nursing homes seem to repeatedly hire problematic employees. A culture at a nursing home which tolerates even the smallest misconduct often leads directly to repeated examples of nursing home residents being abused, humiliated, and neglected.
At Springside, the latest incident involved the abuse of a 72-year old blind resident who suffers from dementia and uses a wheelchair. The resident had soiled herself and was crying to a nursing home aide, Jodi LeBrake, for help getting clean. Instead of doing what she is paid to do, however, LeBrake repeatedly told the elderly resident to “shut up.” Following that she took a sock and shoved it into the resident’s mouth. Another nursing assistant was in the room when it all happened; the other woman did not stop it, admonish LeBrake, or report it as required.
Three weeks before that incident, another resident at the facility was abused at the hands of a nursing assistant. Former Springside employee Sandra Yankey was seen pulling the hair of an 81-year old resident when she was supposed to be providing care. Yankey actually had a previous criminal background before she was even hired by the nursing home.
As is typical when a nursing home is found to have allowed multiple abuses of their residents, officials claim that the incidents were “isolated and unrelated.” Of course experience and common sense suggest that a nursing facility has an inherent problem that is not isolated when they hire multiple employees that continue to provide abusive care. The more that these facilities tolerate even minor elder abuse, the more likely that the staff members will allow the conduct to continue and the more residents will suffer. We strongly encourage anyone who suspects any negligence or abuse at a nearby facility to contact a nursing home lawyer immediately to help hold these abusers responsible and improve the lives of vulnerable seniors.