Contact Keating Law Offices

Keating Law Offices, 111 West Washington Street, Suite 1631, Chicago, IL 60602
Direct: 312-239-6787 - Nights/Weekends: 312-208-7702 - Fax: 312-957-6898
Email: KLO Info

Friday, December 24, 2010

Illinois Nursing Homes Often Pay Small Percentage of Illinois Fines

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Alden network of nursing homes and other facilities often pay a small percentage of fines levied by the State of Illinois for violations of the state regulations for nursing homes. The Tribune investigation found that of a sample of nursing homes that care for disabled children only 21% of fines levied by the State were ultimately paid by the nursing homes.

It is important to note when the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act was enacted the Illinois legislature put into place strong protections for nursing home residents. Section 601 of the Act provides that a nursing home resident, or the family or guardian of the resident, may proceed with a civil lawsuit against a nursing home for any intentional or negligent act or omission by the staff at a nursing home. Section 602 of the Act provides that a negligent nursing home is responsible for any actual damages AND the attorney's fees in any case where the nursing home is found liable.

The significance of these sections of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is that a nursing home residents or their family/guardian are not limited to the disciplinary actions of the State of Illinois. The other option is to pursue a civil claim, which is most commonly referred to as a lawsuit. Due to these provisions in the Act, the lawsuit can be brought by retained an Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney. With the representation of the attorney, the nursing home can be pursued and the nursing home could be responsible for any damages they caused and the attorney's fees if the nursing home is found liable by a judge or jury.

Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Mike Keating handles nursing home abuse and neglect cases on a contingency fee basis in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Responsibility. This way the nursing home resident or their representatives are not forced to pay any attorney's fees or expenses in advance.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Viral Outbreak in Michigan Nursing Home Illustrates Risks

Reports of a viral outbreak in a Michigan nursing home illustrates the risk of wide-spread outbreak of viral disease in nursing homes. The risk of wide-spread outbreaks in nursing homes is high for two primary reasons: 1) the density of residents in a relatively small area; and 2) the diminished immune systems of many elderly or disabled residents. These two facts combine to create a "perfect storm" in nursing homes where wide-spread outbreaks of diseases are possible.

Illinois nursing homes have a responsibility to provide the highest level of care possible to its residents. This includes providing proper sanitary conditions and utilizing modern sanitation techniques. The risk of many viral diseases can be reduced with simple practices such as the nursing staff washing their hands after handling each residents and using common hand sanitizers. Unfortunately, many staff members in nursing homes do not bother to use these simple techniques and this leads to the spread of disease. A failure such as this is a very simple example of nursing home negligence.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Study Finds That High Percentage of Nursing Home Residents Carry MRSA Superbug

The University of Chicago Press Journal has reported that a recent study of 10 nursing homes found that a staggering 31% of residents tested were carrying Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as the MRSA superbug. 31% is a higher rate than the rate found in hospitals and intensive care units.

Most interestingly, the study found that of the 10 nursing home studied, that the rates of MRSA varied widely by nursing home. The highest level was 52% and the low was 7%. This wide range lends itself to the idea that some nursing homes are much more capable at keeping the rates of MRSA low than others.

MRSA is a very dangerous and deadly superbug that is resistant to antibiotics. MRSA is most commonly spread by skin-to-skin contact and is highly spreadable in nursing home settings. Nursing homes have a duty to utilize modern sterilization techniques and best practices in reducing the risk of infection. Elderly residents are particularly susceptible to MRSA infections and, due to their age, often have weakened immune systems that can not combat the deadly infection.

These MRSA infections often lead to MRSA-sepsis. As discussed in this earlier post on www.ILNursingHomeAttorney.com, Sepsis is a very serious medical condition in which a person's bloodstream is overwhelmed with an infection. If sepsis is not diagnosed quickly, the affected person can experience organ failure and die. Sepsis can only be treated if it is diagnosed quickly and appropriately. 

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

The above-referenced study is cited as follows:
Courtney Reynolds, Victor Quan, Diane Kim, Ellena Peterson, Julie Dunn, Matthew Whealon, Leah Terpstra, Hildy Meyers, Michele Cheung, Bruce Lee, and Susan S. Huang, "Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Carriage in 10 Nursing Homes in Orange County, California." Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 32:1.

IL Attorney General Continues "Operation Guardian" Sweeps of Nursing Homes

The Office of the Illinois Attorney General has continued its "Operation Guardian" sweeps of nursing homes. According to recent reports, "Operation Guardian" most recently conducted compliance checks at Wood Glen Nursing and Rehab Center in West Chicago and at Westmont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. "Operation Guardian" is a multi-unit taskforce assembled to protect nursing home residents.

Many agencies take part in "Operation Guardian" including:
  • The Illinois Department on Aging’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program which evaluates nursing homes to make sure that residents’ rights are not being violated. 
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) conducts a compliance review of any identified nursing homes and evaluates any reported incidents within the last six months, and
  • The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation interviews nursing home administrators and performs a license check of all professionals (R.N.s, L.P.N.s, etc.) employed at the nursing facility.
In the recent sweep at Wood Glen Nursing and Rehab Center, investigators found one resident who had been reported as missing and arrested one employee and one resident based on outstanding warrants. At the Westmont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, investigators arrested one employee based on an outstanding warrant. Nursing homes have a responsibility to check the background of their employees and their residents to ensure that potentially violent or dangerous individuals are not living or working in their facility. 
If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Alden Village North Makes Changes After Deaths of Residents

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the owners/operators of Alden Village North are claiming that they have made significant challenges to their often criticized facility. Alden Village North has been the subject of this intense criticism because of reports that thirteen children and young adults have died at the facility since 2000. These thirteen deaths resulted in state citations from the Illinois Department of Public Health for neglect or for failure on the part of the facility to properly and thoroughly investigate the death. Seven of the thirteen deaths occurred after the Alden corporation took over the facility. In addition to the thirteen deaths that resulted in state citations, at least eleven other residents of Alden Village North have died.

What is also notable about these instances is that the residents of Alden Village North are often disabled children, not senior citizens as is the case at most nursing homes. Regardless of age, a nursing home is liable in any instance where a resident is harmed as a result of abuse or neglect. Because of their age of disability, the condition of many nursing home residents changes frequently. Many times a nursing home neglects its residents by not timely evaluating their residents and making sure that the necessary changes are made to the Nursing Care Plan.  It is the responsibility of the nursing home to make these changes to the Nursing Care Plan so that the changes in condition are addressed. A failure to make these changes can lead to an allegation that the nursing home did not meet the nursing standard of care.

The Alden corporation has been the subject of numerous nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits in Illinois that allege that various Alden nursing homes did not meet the nursing standard of care in their treatment of their residents. Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating is currently handling several cases against Alden nursing homes that are based on allegations of nursing home neglect. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Threat of Sepsis and a Missed Diagnosis

The Los Angeles Times has printed a news story about a study into the lasting impact of sepsis in elderly individuals. The study was originally published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Sepsis is a very serious medical condition in which a person's bloodstream is overwhelmed with an infection. If sepsis is not diagnosed quickly, the affected person can experience organ failure and die. Sepsis can only be treated if it is diagnosed quickly and appropriately. 

The researchers compared a large sample of elderly patients who suffered from sepsis against an even larger sample of elderly patients who were hospitalized and did not have sepsis. The researchers found that those elderly patients who suffered from sepsis and survived were much more likely to develop problems with thinking and memory. Those patients who suffered from sepsis were also more likely to develop a physical limitation with their activities of daily living like walking, dressing, or bathing.

The nursing staff in a nursing home is responsible for monitoring the patient to check for any "significant changes" in a resident's condition. Symptoms of sepsis are often confused with symptoms of the flu or just general lethargy. It is the nursing staff's responsibility, however, to contact the resident's physician if it appears the resident is ill. Often what happens is a resident has contracted sepsis and the nursing staff does not act quickly. This delay denies the sick resident the opportunity to get immediate medical treatment. As mentioned above, sepsis needs to be treated immediately. If sepsis isn't treated immediately the illness leads to severe and lasting injury or death.

Another way in which sepsis is at the heart of litigation is from infected bedsores. Often what happens is the nursing staff does not monitor residents who are at risk for developing bedsores. The bedsores develop and then are a "target" for deadly bacteria. The deadly bacteria enters the body through the bedsore and the bacteria leads to sepsis. This dangerous chain of events can be stopped if proper measures are taken so that bedsores do not develop.

Attorney Mike Keating has handled several cases involving residents who unnecessarily contracted sepsis while a resident at a nursing home. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Case Settled on Behalf of Family of Woman Assaulted by Other Resident


Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Mike Keating has settled a civil case brought under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act against a Central Illinois Nursing Home for failing to properly supervise its residents. The case stemmed from an August 2008 incident when an elderly female resident was pushed to the ground by a male resident. The male resident had a documented history of aggression towards other people in the nursing home. As a result of this incident the female sustained a fractured hip and died only six weeks after this incident.
Attorney Mike Keating alleged that the nursing home was responsible for two reasons: 1) for failing to remove the aggressive resident from the home prior to this incident and 2) for failing to supervise the female resident despite her known history of falls and dementia. 
First, the aggressive male resident should have been removed from the nursing home prior to August of 2008. Records indicate that he had a known history of aggression. Section 3-612 of the Nursing Home Care Act provides that when a nursing home determines that a resident is the perpetrator of abuse, the resident’s condition must be immediately evaluated to determine the most suitable therapy and placement for the abusive resident. In this case, instead of providing the abusive resident with the therapy and placement the male resident required, he was left in the facility where he unfortunately victimized the female resident in this case.
Second, the nursing home should have more carefully supervised the female resident. The Code of Federal Regulations, Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and Illinois Administrative Code set the requirements for the level of care, supervision and assistance nursing home residents are to receive. It was the nursing home's failure to meet these requirements and provide adequate supervision and alarms that directly led to the female resident being able to wander into the hallway of the nursing home unsupervised, be assaulted by another resident, and fracture her hip. 
This sequence of events compromised the resident’s condition and she went into a steady decline that resulted in her death in September of 2008. Due to the failures of the nursing home, it was liable under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Section 3-601 of the Act holds the owners and licensee of a nursing home liable for any intentional or negligent act or omission of their agents or employees which injures the resident. 210 ILCS 45/3-601.

Due to the terms of the settlement agreement between the family of the resident and the nursing home, the identity of the parties and further details are confidential. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Can You Get a New Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer?

I've received a number of inquiries lately from Chicago-area people who have personal injury cases with a different lawyer. These people no longer wish to work with their prior attorney for a variety of reasons. But they all have the same question in common: Can they get a new lawyer even though they have a contract with their current lawyer?

The answer is yes. Illinois law provides that a client may discharge his or her attorney at any time, for basically any reason. This law was made clear in the case Rhoades v. Norfolk & Western Ry. Co. (1979). Many people who have personal injury cases think they can't get a new lawyer to work on their case because they signed a contract with their old attorney. However, contingency-fee contracts cease to exist and the contingency term is no longer operative when a client terminates an attorney working under a contingency-fee contract. This law was made clear in a case called In re Estate of Callahan (1991).

Victims of personal injury cases and their families have a right to experienced, competent, and professional representation. To me this relationship of trust and respect is the most important part of the attorney-client relationship and the key to a successful approach to a case. Clients should feel comfortable with their attorney and trust that everything that could be done for them is being done. Clients also have a right to know what has happened, is happening, and is going to happen in their case. Cases shouldn't "sit" in an office - cases should move towards a resolution.

Just as you would with a doctor, you have the right to get a second opinion if you want one. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gurnee Senior Center Operating Without License

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that "Theresa's Home Care" in Gurnee has been operating with authority from Gurnee nor the proper licensing from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The State became aware of the situation when paramedics responded to a 911 emergency call and arrived at the home to find more than a dozen seniors living there. The owner of the home, Theresa Bicok is quoted as saying that the facility is a place for seniors who either can’t afford a larger assisted-living facility or who prefer a more intimate setting.

The Illinois Administrative Code provides the rules and regulations for Long-Term Care Facilities. Based on the information in the Chicago Tribune article, the owners and operators of this facility fail to not only recognize the need for proper licensure, but also that there are different rules and regulations for Senior Living Centers, Nursing Home, Assisted Care Facilities, etc. Different facilities are licensed to provide different "skill levels" of care. Obviously, the purpose of these facilities obtaining the proper licensure is so the IDPH can track and monitor these facilities. As an Illinois Nursing Home Attorney, I've seen first hand how the State has limited resources to track licensed facilities. Situations like this where the facility is operating "outside the system" make it almost impossible for the State to track. The fear, of course, is that the seniors are then at greater risk because there is no accountability.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

LaSalle Co. Nursing Home Cited By State

The LaSalle County Nursing Home has been cited by the State of Illinois' Department of Public Health (IDPH)for violating the rules and regulations for nursing homes. In the most serious of the violations, the IDPH found that a Registered Nurse (R.N.) failed to promptly perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a resident and instead left the resident and went to get assistance. The resident died as a result of failing to receive help. The nurse had only been licensed for two year and the incident occurred at the end of 24-hour shift for the nurse. The nursing home was also found to have allowed its staff to verbally abuse residents and in another instance gave a resident food the resident was known to be allergic to and given anyways.

In the third case, a registered nurse did not promptly perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a resident July 17, instead leaving the resident and going to get help. The resident died and the nurse was fired. The nurse had been a nurse two years and the incident happened at the end of a 24-hour shift for her, according to an IDPH document. The nursing home will almost assuredly claim that these are "isolated" incidents. But based on the IDPH report, these incidents are probably not isolated and could show a pattern of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect. The Nursing Home, and each and everyone of its employees, has the duty to do everything possible to provide the highest level of care to their residents. A nursing home's goal should be for their residents to receive a high level of care so that there lives are as best they can be from a medical, psychological and even social standpoint. Merely "maintaining" a resident's condition is not the standard by which a nursing home is judged.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

LA SALLE COUNTY NURSING HOME: State finds faults - My Web Times

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Illinois Nursing Home Association Chief Fired Over Missing $670K

There are reports that Dennis Bozzi, the former President and CEO of Life Services Network of Illinois, has "misappropriated" approximately $670,000 from a nursing home group and has agreed to repay the funds. While this instance doesn't directly deal with Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect, I thought it was worth reporting because it illustrates an important truth. That truth is that no matter what a person's role they are not above the law nor should they be able to escape accountability. Illinois residents are fortunate that they have laws in the Illinois Nursing Home Care act that allows them to bring a civil claim for any harm that comes to them or a family member because of abuse or neglect of a nursing home resident. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Illinois/New York nursing home association chief fired, to repay $670,000 in misused funds - McKnight's Long Term Care News

Family of Deceased Galesburg Terrace Nursing Home Concerned After Discovery of Black Mold

Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Health cited Galesburg Terrace Nursing Home for the presence of black mold in several resident rooms and in one of the shower rooms. WHO out of Des Moines is now reporting that the family of Mildred Sotto is now concerned that the black mold may have been a factor in Mildred's health or even played a role in her death. Mildred was ruled to have died from pneumonia, but given this new discovery the family is right to consider that the presence of this toxic black mold may have caused or contributed to her death. Illinois law provides that in a civil case the Plaintiff (the party bringing the case) need not prove that the cause of death was one single and exclusive factor. The party can bring a case by showing that A factor, in combination with other factors, led to an allegedly wrongful death.

Nursing Homes in Illinois have a responsibility to provide healthy and safe homes for its residents. The presence of potentially toxic black mold is an inexcusable violation of the trust that residents and their families place in the nursing home. Black mold can be easily removed with standard cleaning processes. There is simply no excuse for a potentially toxic substance such as this to be present in Galesburg Terrace. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Family of deceased Galesburg nursing home resident concerned after mold discovery - WHO

Video Captures Healthcare Worker Beating 91-year old Victim

CNN has posted a video and related news story of a healthcare worker violently abusing an elderly woman. It is horribly ironic that this healthcare worker was hired to provide the elderly woman with assistance with her activities of daily living such as eating, dressing, bathing and walking. As an Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney, cases like this are an unfortunate reminder of the horrors that can take place at the hands of the very people who are supposed to care and protect our seniors and others who are vulnerable. In Illinois there are criminal laws in place for instances such as this. If this incident were to take place it is probable that the authorities would prosecute the healthcare worker for Criminal Neglect. You can read a previous post on the recent amendments to the definition of Criminal Neglect in Illinois here. Illinois' civil laws also provide that the elderly person or their family members may pursue a civil lawsuit against the healthcare worker and potentially their employer. In instances involving nursing homes this often means that a civil lawsuit can be brought against 1) the abusive healthcare worker and 2) the nursing home that employs the healthcare worker.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.


Video captures home health aide beating elderly New Jersey woman - CNN.com

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

IDPH Cites Galesburg Terrace for Black Mold

The Illinois Department of Health cited Galesburg Terrace Nursing Home for the presence of black mold in seven resident rooms and in one of the shower rooms. Galesburg Terrace was also cited for errors in ventilation care and errors in providing medication to residents. Nursing Homes in Illinois have a responsibility to provide healthy and safe homes for its residents. The presence of potentially toxic black mold is an inexcusable violation of the trust that residents and their families place in the nursing home. Black mold can be easily removed with standard cleaning processes. There is simply no excuse for a potentially toxic substance such as this to be present in Galesburg Terrace.

Source - Galesburg nursing home cited for mold - WQAD

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Uptown's Grasmere Place Nursing Home Tipped Off About Inspection

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Grasmere Place Nursing Home in Uptown was recently given a surprise inspection by the Illinois Department of Public Health - except there was no surprise. When officials arrived at the nursing home the Administrator of the facility was reportedly waiting for the inspection and asked "what took so long?" Allegedly, a City of Chicago official tipped off the nursing home. However, the tables were turned later on when a true surprise inspection found the nursing home in much less of a "ready" condition.

This story is particularly scary because it shows that our most vulnerable citizens, those in our nursing homes, were failed not only by the nursing home but also by at least one of the officials whose job it is to protect nursing home residents. Often, it is the Nursing Home Attorney who is the "last resort" and person who can hold the facility accountable. If you or a loved one have been let down by a nursing home, contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial inquiries are confidential and of no cost or commitment.

Source: Nursing home safety: Facility allegedly tipped off to inspection - chicagotribune.com

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rings Stolen From Dead Resident's Hands at Wheaton Nursing Home

The Chicago Tribune is reporting a very troubling, but unfortunately, common story of a resident's jewelry going missing at a nursing home. What is particularly disturbing about this story is that the jewelry at issue was the rings on a deceased resident's hands. According to the report, the rings were stolen sometime between 8pm on July 28th and 6 am on July 29th. The family then reported the rings missing on August 2nd. The rings included the dead woman's engagement ring and wedding band.

This story reflects that lack of respect and decency that is not given to residents at many nursing homes. What's worse is that many times that same lack of respect and decency is not given to the residents themselves. The Illinois laws have recently been amended to increase the penalties for a failure to properly take care of nursing home residents. There are laws that protect a resident's possession and the right for them to have their possessions safe and accounted for at all times.

If you or a loved one are the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

IL Regulators Move to Revoke Columbus Manor's Nursing Home License

CBS Chicago (via the AP) is reporting that the State of Illinois is in the process of revoking the nursing home license of the Columbus Manor Residential Care Home in downtown Chicago. It is reported that Columbus Manor has received several violations involving its residents' safety including attacks among residents and an attempted sexual assault. A hearing set for December 6th on the matter.

As explained on this blog, a nursing home is responsible for the health and safety of its residents. Keeping a resident healthy and safe includes keeping them from harm of other residents. This responsibility is a legal duty and when the nursing home breaches that duty it is responsible for the injuries or harm to the resident. If you have any questions regarding this post, please contact Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Residents with Outstandings Warrants Caught at Rockford Nursing Home

Media outlets are reporting that at least four residents at Rockford's Alden-Park Strathmoor Nursing Home have been found to have outstanding criminal warrants. These residents were detected as a part of a sting operation by state and local officials led by Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Alden-Park released a statement claiming that they comply with the law and conducted background checks of their residents, but background checks do not show arrest warrant information. Attorney General Madigan countered that it appears that Alden-Park had information regarding people with criminal backgrounds but failed to share that information with the Illinois Department of Public Health as they are required by law.

Nursing homes are responsible for the health, safety and well being of their residents. These homes are obligated by law to provide the optimal care necessary to ensure that their residents are doing as well as possible. This doesn't just mean that the residents get their meals and get medicine when they need it. This obligation also extends to keeping the residents safe from criminals, whether those criminals be other residents or members of the staff. A nursing home can be found responsible for injuries that happen at the hands of another resident or a staff member.

Attorney Mike Keating has successfully prosecuted numerous cases against nursing homes for failing to meet their legal duties. If you have a question regarding the care you or a loved one received in a nursing home, call Mike Keating directly at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Nursing Home Maintenance Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault at Nursing Home

The Chicago Tribune has reported that a member of the maintenance staff at the Willowbrook-based Chateau Village Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has plead guilty to sexually assaulting a fellow member of the staff. Marco Campos took advantage of a female worker when he pulled her into a closet, ripped her clothes off, and sexually assaulted her. Campos was originally alleged to have sexually violated several female staff members at the facility. Campos reportedly used his senior position to threaten the women into silence over fear of losing their jobs.

While the victim of this incident was not a resident, this is another unfortunate example of how sexual predators are drawn to those that are most vulnerable. In many instances this means the predators seek out nursing homes for places of employment. This is why the new state law dealing with nursing homes require additional steps to be taken to check the background of all employees. However, many nursing homes do not follow the rules and check the background of their employees, allowing these predators access to the residents in their facilities.

If you have any questions regarding any of the legal issues discussed in this post, please contact Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com.

Willowbrook nursing home crime: West Chicago man pleads guilty to 1998 sexual assault at nursing home - chicagotribune.com

State Fines Collinsville Rehabilitation & Health Care Center

The Illinois Department of Public Health and Centers for medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has fined the Collinsville Rehabilitation & Health Care Center $25,000.00 for incidents related to the abuse and neglect of a patient. According to reports on January 6 a resident entered a female residents room and lifted up her skirt. The man left after the female resident screamed.

The nursing home failed to report the incident to the IDPH. More significantly, the nursing home failed to do an appropriate background check on the man when he was admitted to the home. Nursing homes' top priorities are the safety and well being of their residents. Nursing homes need to do everything they can to protect and support residents, and when they fail they are to be accountable and report their failures. If you have any questions regarding these legal issues please contact Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com.

You can read a news report of the incident here: Suburban Journals | News | State fines Collinsville nursing home

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Law Leads to Rockford Nursing Home Hiring More Workers

Rockford nursing home reacts to new Illinois laws - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

More Nursing Staff = Better Care. Better Care = Healthier Residents.

These new changes in Illinois' law show how the force and influence of law can lead to direct changes, for the better, in peoples' lives. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act was originally enacted with the idea in mind that civil lawsuits were one way to enforce the laws because it otherwise would have been too big of a burden for the State.

There is no shame in contacting an an experienced attorney to discuss the care you or a loved one have received in a nursing home. Many cases are resolved without a lawsuit. Keating Law Offices never accepts a fee unless a recovery is made for the injured person. If you have any questions regarding nursing home law in Illinois, please contact Mike Keating at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com or 312-208-7702.

Definition of "Neglect" Amended in IL Nursing Home Care Act

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act used to define neglect as:

"A failure in a facility to provide adequate medical or personal care or maintenance, which failure results in physical or mental injury to a resident or in the deterioration of a resident's physical or mental condition."

This definition of neglect now includes the "willful withholding of, adequate medical care, mental health treatment, psychiatric rehabilitation, personal care, or assistance with activities of daily living that is necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness of a resident."

The main difference is that neglect now just isn't a failure that results in physical or mental injury, but any "willful withholding" of medical care and treatment or assistance that could result in physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness of the resident."

This is a critical change as it allows Illinois nursing home attorney to prosecute cases against nursing homes for neglect when they willfully withhold care, treatment, and assistance. There no longer needs to be a injury. Now there just needs to be a showing of physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness to demonstrate neglect.

Illinois nursing homes should never neglect a resident under any definition. If you or a loved one have been a victim of neglect in an Illinois nursing home, please contact Attorney Mike Keating at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com or 312-208-7702.

New IL Law Strengthens the Legal Definition of "Criminal Neglect"

The Illinois Criminal Code's definition of "Criminal Neglect" of a nursing home resident has been amended. The new definition considers "Criminal Neglect" to include a reckless act or failure to perform and act that creates "the substantial likelihood that an elderly person's or person with a disability's life will be endangered, health will be injured, or pre-existing physical or mental condition will deteriorate."

Prior to this change the law provided that the elderly or disabled person had to be endangered or harmed. This new change could also penalize a reckless or negligent nursing home staff member for any reckless act or failure that creates a substantial likelihood the the elderly or disabled person would be endangered or harmed. This means that if the elderly or disabled person is put in harms way, under the law this could be viewed with the same severity as actually endangering or harming the person.

This change is a part of the same legislation that requires extensive disclosures and reporting by nursing homes that was detailed in the Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Illinois blog post you can find by clicking here.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of what you think is Criminal Neglect due to poor care in a nursing home, please contact Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Illinois Law to Shine Light on Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

On Friday Gov. Quinn signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. This new law creates Section 3-808.5 which will shine light onto incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect in Illinois by requiring more reporting of incidents by the nursing home and providing information regarding how to report abuse and neglect.

Section 3-808.5: "Nursing Home Fraud, Abuse, and Neglect Prevention and Reporting" will require the following of Nursing Homes:
  1. To display information in the lobby, on each floor, and in the dining hall information on how to report incidents of fraud, abuse and neglect to the Illinois Medicare Fraud Unit.
  2. To provide information at the time of admission to each resident and/or their family members/emergency contacts information on how to reports incidents of fraud, abuse and neglect to the Illinois Medicare Fraud Unit.
  3. Owners and Licensees of Nursing Homes are required to keep documentation on their compliance with the new disclosure requirements.
  4. Any report of abuse and neglect that is made to the Administrator, Director of Nursing or person with "management authority" (presumably someone like a supervising nurse, Assistant DON, etc.) must be disclosed to the owners and licensee of the nursing home within 24 hours. The nursing home must also keep records of this reporting.
  5. All owners of Nursing Homes must disclose their ownership interest to the Illinois Department of Public Health within 30 days of July 30, 2010.
  6. Any owner that fails to meet these disclosure requirements could be found guilty of a Misdemeanor, but further failures could result in a Class 4 Felony.
  7. Any owner who files false information could be guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor.
If you have any questions regarding this post, please contact Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. Mike Keating is a former staff attorney for the Judiciary I - Civil Law Committee at the Illinois House of Representatives and currently prosecutes Civil Actions on behalf of nursing home residents and their families.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

IL Attorney General Leads Raid of Presidential Pavilion Nursing Home

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan led a raid of the Presidential Pavilion Nursing Home on Chicago' South Side on Tuesday. Presidential Pavilion is one of Illinois' largest nursing home. The nursing home sits at the intersection of Western and 80th where the raid was conducted by local police agencies and investigators. It is the 10th nursing home to be raided in this ongoing sweep to reduce the risk of wanted felons living in nursing homes. The concern is that these felons are a risk to the staff and other residents of these nursing homes.

14 separate warrants were issued as to wanted felons at Presidential Pavilion. There were reportedly 20 residents with a total of 950 arrests and 399 convictions. This raid was reported by the Chicago Tribune which has done excellent work shining light on the problems plaguing nursing homes in Illinois. Dave Jackson of the Tribune has previously interviewed Attorney Mike Keating regarding these issues surrounding Illinois nursing homes.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides that if a resident is injured while in the care of a nursing home, that nursing home may be responsible for the resident's injuries. This may be true even if another resident injures the victim. It is quite often the case that a nursing home is aware of the dangerous background of a resident and allows them to be unsupervised and injure other residents who become victims.

If you have any questions regarding this post or regarding the law surrounding Illinois nursing homes, please contact Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What is nursing home abuse and neglect?

The questions that residents of nursing homes or their families most often have are "what exactly is nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect?" and "Does this apply to my situation?" The answers to these questions start with the definitions in the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.
  • The Act defines neglect as "a failure in a facility to provide adequate medical or personal care or maintenance, which failure results in physical or mental injury to a resident or in the deterioration of a resident's physical or mental condition."
  • The Act further defines abuse as "any physical or mental injury or sexual assault inflicted on a resident other than by accidental means in a facility."
Both neglect and abuse under the law involve some kind of injury or victimization under the Act. The distinction between the two deals with intent. An easy summary of the distinction is that neglect happens when someone doesn't do something they should have done and abuse happens when someone does something they should not have done.

Neglect can be unintentional. It can happen, for example, when an overburdened and understaffed nursing department fails to utilize proper wound care techniques. This can result in bedsores and infections. Abuse, however, is an intentional act. Accidents are not abuse. Abuse occurs when a resident suffers a physical or mental injury or is victimized in a sexual assualt while a resident at a facility. The most common forms of abuse are "rough handling" such as slapping, pushing, pinching, and pulling by nursing home staff.

Whether it is an instance of abuse or neglect, it is important for the resident and their families to know that they have rights under the Illinois Nursing Home Care act to pursue a civil lawsuit against the persons and places responsible for the injury or victimization. If you think that you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home negligence or abuse, please contact Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating @KeatingLegal.com.