January 8, 2010

Crimes by Convicted Felons in Nursing Homes on the Rise

An alarming report in the Chicago Tribune talks about an increase in reports of violent attacks by felons living in nursing homes. Many nursing home facilities are apparently not complying with a four-year-old disclosure law that requires them to notify state and public health officials when they admit offenders. As a result, some offenders in that state have been living in facilities undeclared for as long as a year.

There have been several recent incidents involving felons abusing or seriously injuring other nursing home residents. Most recently a 22-year-old mentally ill felon pleaded guilty to brutally raping a 69-year-old woman who lived in the same nursing home. In that case, the felon's background screening had been improperly handled by the nursing home because they used the wrong birth date. In Illinois, nursing homes are required to conduct criminal background checks on all new residents and immediately notify state health authorities when someone with a serious felony conviction is admitted.

However, some homes still fail to conduct these important background checks or make serious errors on the checks, or simply fail to report these felons to officials. Some of these offenders, as a result, went on to commit assaults and serious crimes inside the homes. As a result of the nursing home's negligence and their failure to take these background checks seriously, they exposed their own residents to danger.

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December 28, 2009

Jury Finds Nursing Home Neglect Led to Woman's Death

A jury has awarded $51,000 to the family of a nursing home resident, who died after suffering a large bed sore that ate through her skin, to the bone. According to a recent news report, the jury also decided that the nursing home should cover attorney's fees incurred by the resident's children over five years. The 88-year-old resident died in December 2004 after she underwent a procedure to remove bedsores and treat bone infections caused by the nursing home's extreme neglect including, failing to clean her. Nursing home administrators maintained that the woman had bedsores on other parts of her body and that she did not suffer them as a result of negligence.

Nursing home negligence lawsuits may not yield as much as other personal injury cases in terms of damages. However, in this case, the family gets the satisfaction of holding the facility accountable for their wrongdoing. The civil justice system is about righting a wrong and holding those who broke our nation's civil laws responsible and financially liable to the victim. That's exactly what happened here. The nursing home has been made to pay for their wrongdoing.

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December 17, 2009

Incidents of Emotional Abuse at Nursing Homes Increasing

Incidents of nursing home negligence and abuse are hitting an all-time high in the United States. This is definitely a major concern. The news accounts get more and more disturbing. A recent news report says that a nursing home was fined after health investigators found several incidents of "widespread deficiencies," which could immediately put residents in jeopardy.

The 120-bed nursing home is facing a hefty fine after an investigation revealed that several residents were being abused. In fact, an employee told investigators that she saw two other employees mocking a resident who stuttered because that individual has Parkinson's disease. Another resident told investigators that an employee had threatened to strangle her.

What officials found turned out to be hardly surprising. The nursing home was chronically short-staffed and because employees were being over-worked, incidents of staff "burnout" and employees calling in sick have increased exponentially.

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