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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.