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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

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Former Chicago Bear Great Dies Tragically In Nursing Home After Poisoning

Former Chicago Bears Running Back, George McAfee, is most known for his celebrated professional football career. George was drafted in the first round by the Bears. In his eight seasons in Chicago, George was a four time NFL Champion and was named the NFL punt return champion, landing him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966. Following the end of his celebrated career, George unfortunately entered the national spotlight again more than thirty years later for an entire different reason. 
In a case that garnered national attention, George's family settled out of court with Emeritus Corporation after George drank industrial strength cleaning detergent while left unsupervised in an assisted living facility and died ten days later. George's death drew national attention to the world of for-profit assisted living facilities and shed light on the potential dangers of placing a loved one in a loosely regulated facility. 
In the years prior to his death, George suffered from dementia. Because he was not in poor physical health, his family jumped on the opportunity for George to reside at Cypress Gardens, an Emeritus assisted living facility in Atlanta, Georgia for a fee of $4,000 per month. Despite the cost, his family was happy to have him in a home-like environment, which was a stark contrast to the sterile feel of most nursing homes. 
George's situation is becoming more common, in that there is a growing population of elderly individuals who are in good physical shape but suffer from memory issues including dementia and Alzheimer's disease. As such, "memory units" are becoming increasingly popular in profit-based assisted living facilities for the exact reasons that George McAfee's family chose Cypress Gardens, in that they provide a transitory step for elderly residents who need assistance but who do not require full time skilled nursing care. 
Unfortunately, many families choosing assisted living facilities are not aware that they are often for-profit facilities that do not receive federal funding and are therefore not subject to federal regulations. In addition, workers receive minimum wage, get limited training, and are often subject to inadequate staffing ratios. These issues appear to have factored into George McAfee's death, as facility records revealed that the wing where George found and consumed the cleaning fluid was unstaffed for a half an hour and the cabinet containing the fluid was left unlocked, contrary to protocol. 
Looking back, George McAfee's daughter Mary Jeanne Stouffer wishes they would have done their "homework" before picking a facility but admitted that it didn't cross their mind to need to double check the reputation of the facility . In addition Stouffer advised that adult children need to advocate for their parents. 
There are certainly several lessons to be learned from George McAfee's tragic death. At Keating Law Offices, we routinely advocate on behalf of clients who have been seriously injured or even died as a result of negligent care at a nursing home or assisted living facility. As George McAfee's family suggests, it is very important to thoroughly research a long term care facility's record before selecting a facility for a loved one. 
If you have a question about this post, or any other issue related to Illinois Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse Law, please contact Mike Keating at Keating Law Offices by calling 312-208-7702 or emailing MKeating@KeatingLegal.com, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All phone calls and emails are returned promptly. All initial consultations are free and confidential.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

IDPH Charges Champaign County Nursing Home With Several Violations

Recent investigations of the Champaign County Nursing Home in Urbana, Illinois revealed that the facility has committed numerous, ongoing health code violations. In specific, both the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District have discovered a number of issues in the facility related to sanitation, food storage, and resident diet during the time period from January of 2012 to April of 2013.
Perhaps the most surprising of the violations relates to the food served to the residents in the facility. On multiple occasions, investigations revealed the facility served residents food containing small pieces of plastic or cardboard. In the most severe instance, the "fingertip to knuckle" portion of a plastic glove was discovered in meat served to a resident. The wife of a resident who received food with cardboard in it reported that the facility has served her husband food containing foreign objects on a number of occasions.
With respect to sanitation, a December 12, 2012 inspection revealed soiled interior oven racks and a soiled can opener blade in the facility's kitchen. In addition, inspectors discovered that a water heater was not operating properly. As a result, water in the dishwasher failed to reach 180 degrees which is necessary to properly sanitize the residents' dishes. Regarding food storage, an April 11, 2013 inspection revealed that the facility maintained a walk-in cooler at a temperature above 41 degrees, rendering it too warm for safe food storage. In addition, a number of dry storage racks were soiled and dirty.
Inspections also revealed a number of violations related to residents' diets. On numerous occasions, the facility failed to serve residents items listed on the the daily menu or provided residents with only a partial serving of a menu item. In addition, the facility failed to provide "health shakes" between meals to a seriously ill patient who had suffered an 8 percent body weight loss in a single month and also failed to provide the patient with full servings of a lunch menu item.
The Champaign County Nursing Home's health violations are incredibly dangerous to its residents and expose its residents to a number potential health threats. Many nursing home residents are already in a compromised state of health when they enter a nursing facility. When a nursing home agrees to house an elderly resident, it also agrees to avoid unnecessarily harming the resident. When unnecessary harm occurs as a result of issues such as the health violations committed by the Champaign County Nursing Home, the facility may be responsible for the harm resulting to its residents. The Attorneys at Keating Law Offices have represented a number of nursing home residents who have been injured or harmed as a result of improper nursing home care. 
If you have a question about this post, or any other issue related to Illinois personal injury law, please contact Mike Keating at Keating Law Offices by calling 312-208-7702 or emailing MKeating@KeatingLegal.com, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All phone calls and emails are returned promptly. All initial consultations are free and confidential.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Illinois Law Increases Access to Nursing Care Services

The Illinois Legislature recently adopted a law sponsored by State Representative Sara Feigenholtz of Chicago aimed at increasing home care services for senior citizens who might otherwise needlessly be placed in residential nursing homes. Illinois's Community Care Program (CCP) currently provides home-based services to approximately 85,000 elderly Illinois residents. According to the Lincoln Park Patch, the reforms focus on "implementing inter-agency data sharing, shifting to a managed care model for some seniors, applying for enhanced federal matching funds, improving Medicaid enrollment and processing, freezing rates at exiting levels, and implementing more stringent personnel policies."
The primary purpose of the new law is to provide the most cost-effective services to the greatest number of Illinois's elderly residents as possible.  Representative Feigenholtz explained, "Home care for senior citizens is one of the most cost-effective programs in the state of Illinois . . . . [T]he state can provide CCP for four seniors at the same cost of caring for one person in a nursing home."
Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Michael Keating supports the Illinois Legislature's efforts to avoid placing senior citizens into residential nursing homes before such intensive care is reasonably required. Home health care has the obvious benefit of allowing individuals who are able to participate in their own care to do so in the comfort and familiarity of their own home, while also preventing individuals who require nursing home care from dealing with the burdens of overcrowding. As a nursing home's population increases, the quality of care provided to each individual resident almost inevitably decreases. In extreme cases, overcrowding and inadequate staffing can result in the neglect, or even abuse, of nursing home residents. Therefore, increasing the availability of home health care is not only cost effective but also increases the quality of care provided to elderly individuals living independently and in nursing homes.
If you have a question about this post, or any other issue related to Illinois personal injury law, please contact Mike Keating at Keating Law Offices by calling 312-208-7702 or emailing MKeating@KeatingLegal.com, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All phone calls and emails are returned promptly. All initial consultations are free and confidential.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Could Medicaid Funding Cuts Lead to More Cases of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?


Recent Medicaid cuts affecting nursing home recipients have restricted access to dental, vision, and podiatry care. For instance, routine dental services are generally no longer covered by Medicaid. Instead, Medicaid recipients usually only receive emergency dental services. Without Medicaid funding, nursing homes must attempt to provide these vital services to their residents privately, rely on financial help from residents' family members, or neglect their residents' medical needs. This raises a troubling issue: If resources at nursing homes are even further depleted, could this lead to even more cases of nursing home abuse and neglect?
A group in Chicago hopes that question doesn't have to be answered. An estimated 300 nursing home supporters gathered at the Thompson Center to protest existing and potential future cuts in Medicaid funding affecting a number of elderly nursing home residents. Pam Comstock, the executive director of the Health Care Council of Illinois who explained, "Our seniors are elderly and sick and they can't get in their cars and go to Springfield or come down to [the] Thompson Center to talk to anybody, so that's why we're joining our voices to give them a voice." Staff members of several Chicago area nursing homes attended the protest. 
In addition, protesters asserted that the state has failed to properly reimburse Illinois nursing homes for Medicaid services already provided to nursing home residents. Demonstrators estimated that the state owes Illinois nursing homes approximately $400 million for previously provided Medicaid services, while the state estimates that this amount is closer to $210 million. Regardless of the specific amount owed, it is clear that Illinois nursing home are not receiving the funding they are owed for services their residents are entitled to under Medicaid coverage.
This combination of recent Medicaid funding cuts, potential future Medicaid funding cuts, and significant outstanding reimbursements renders it unlikely that Medicaid recipients living in nursing homes are receiving proper and adequate care. In addition, the inevitable financial strain on nursing homes created by these circumstances likely affects the quality of care provided to all nursing home residents, as nursing homes attempt to budget around Medicaid's shortcomings. In the most extreme of circumstances, underfunded nursing home care may result in staffing deficits which lead to the neglect, or even abuse, of nursing home residents.
If you have a question about this post, or any other issue related to Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Mike Keating. You can contact Mike by calling 312-208-7702 or emailing MKeating@KeatingLegal.com, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All phone calls and emails are returned promptly. All initial consultations are free and confidential.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Attorney Michael S. Keating Honored by "SuperLawyers" and "Chicago" Magazines

For the third straight year, Attorney Michael S. Keating of Keating Law Offices, P.C. in Chicago, Illinois has been named to SuperLawyers Magazine's annual list of "Rising Stars."

Mr. Keating was previously named a "Rising Star" in 2011 and 2012. Only 2.5% of the Lawyers in the State of Illinois are named to this list which will be published in the annual edition of Illinois SuperLawyers Magazine and in the February 2013 edition of Chicago Magazine. Mr. Keating has also been named to the "40 Under 40" list of top young trial attorneys in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Mr. Keating was nominated by fellow attorneys and that nomination was reviewed by an attorney-led research team that reviews the credentials of potential candidates and assigns points based on a set of defined evaluation criteria. The point totals from the general survey and research process are then added to arrive at a final tally.

Mr. Keating practices with the Chicago-based firm of Keating Law Offices, P.C. which he founded in 2008. The firm concentrates its practice on personal injury and wrongful death cases stemming from transportation negligence, nursing home negligence and abuse, medical malpractice, premises liability and product liability. Keating Law Offices, P.C. may be found on the internet at www.KeatingLegal.com. The firm is located at 79 West Monroe, Suite 1024 in Chicago, Illinois. Phone: 312-239-6787.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Annual Inspection Process of Illinois Nursing Homes

Deciding that a family member or loved one would be better off living in a nursing home or other type of long-term care facility is a difficult process. When you entrust your loved one to the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility you expect that they will be treated with respect and dignity in a safe environment. Lots of careful research goes into selecting the facility or home that will best serve the health, physical and emotional needs of your loved one.

Unfortunately, there are some facilities that continue to violate their legal and ethical duties to take care of their residents. The state of Illinois has many safeguards in place to protect the rights of residents and patients of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. All Illinois nursing homes must be properly licensed and certified to remain in operation. One of the most important tools in protecting residents is the annual inspection process that all Illinois long-term care facilities must pass in order to maintain their license. Both these inspections and the licensing process as a whole provide an important opportunity for concerned family members, and residents themselves, to bring attention to any problems in a facility or nursing home. Problems may include unsafe physical conditions, substandard medical treatment, or specific incidents or abuse or neglect towards residents.

The annual inspections of Illinois nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are conducted by trained teams of health care professionals from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The purpose of the inspections is to make sure that the facilities are in compliance with all applicable Illinois and federal laws. Facility compliance with these laws also makes it less likely that residents will be the victims of abuse or neglect while living there. The inspections are unannounced and facilities are given no warning so that they cannot attempt to hide or suddenly fix any problems. The inspectors stay in the facility for three to four days and gain a feeling of what the facility's environment is like for residents on a day-to-day basis.There are specific rights that residents, and residents' family members, have during the annual inspection process. The Illinois Department on Aging has the following tips and information for how concerned residents and family members can report suspected nursing home violations to the proper authorities and information on their rights during these inspections:
  1.  If you, or a family member, have concerns about how you are being treated by a nursing home, keep written notes. These notes can be shared with facility inspectors and can be used to identify problems and areas of concern within a facility.
  2. Residents, and their relatives, can request private meetings with inspectors. This can be a confidential and safe way to convey concerns to the inspectors without having to worry about "problems" or retaliation from the facility or its staff.
  3. All facilities are required to display their annual inspection results and to make copies of the previous five years' reports available upon request.
  4. You do not have to wait for the annual inspection to report nursing home abuse or neglect. If you, or a relative, has been the victim of abuse or neglect in an Illinois nursing home or long-term care facility you can go to Illinois' website for reporting abuse here.
If you, or a relative, have been the victim of abuse or neglect in an Illinois nursing home you may be entitled to bring a claim against the facility. The attorneys of Keating Law Offices have successfully represented victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. If you have any questions about this post, or any issue about Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Mike Keating. You can reach him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 312-208-7702 or emailing him at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All emails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

5 Key Rights of Nursing Home Residents in Illinois

Hearing about a "nursing home" usually brings to mind a vision of a retirement community where senior citizens can live in a relaxing group environment. In an ideal nursing home there is plenty of socializing amongst residents and the staff is always available to assist with basic medical needs and the tasks of everyday living.

Despite the phrase "Nursing Home" in its title, Illinois' Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45) actually protects residents and patients of all types of intermediate and long-term care facilities in Illinois. The rules and obligations in the Nursing Home Care Act apply to any facility which houses three or more people who are receiving "personal or medical care, including but not limited to mental health treatment, psychiatric rehabilitation, physical rehabilitation, and assistance with activities of daily living." (210 ILCS 45/1-113 and 1-122). Whether due to a relative's aging-related decline in health, a developmental disability or rehabilitation from an injury or illness, more families than ever rely on these types of facilities to provide a home and care for their family members.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, along with similar federal laws regulating nursing homes (42 CFR 483), provides fundamental protections that ensure residents are attentively treated with the dignity and respect that we would all want our family members and loved ones to be shown. The ultimate goal of these laws it so prevent residents from becoming victims of harmful abuse or neglect while living and receiving assistance in a long-term care facility. If you, or a family member, are a resident of a long-term care facility is it important that you know all of your rights. While some of the duties of intermediate and long-term care facilities are fairly obvious you may not be aware of all of your basic rights. If your family member or loved one has been denied any of these rights while residing in an Illinois nursing home or long-term care facility you may have a legal claim against the facility. The attorneys of Keating Law Offices have successfully helped victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We have the experience to help you if you too have been harmed while residing in a long-term care facility. 

5 Rights of Residents of Illinois Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities
1. Freedom from all types of abuse and neglect, including any type of physical, mental or emotional harm.
2. Protection from abuse or harm committed by fellow residents.
3. Timely medical treatment and hygienic care, including any necessary follow-up care.
4. A safe environment free from dangerous physical conditions or obstacles.
5. Access to daily activities - it is against the law for residents to be kept isolated without cause.

If you have a question about this post, or any other issue related to Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Mike Keating. You can contact Mike by calling 312-208-7702 or emailing MKeating@KeatingLegal.com, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All phone calls and emails are returned promptly. All initial consultations are free and confidential.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Nursing Home Neglect Case Settled for Chicago Resident

The attorneys of Keating Law Offices have successfully obtained a settlement on behalf of a client who was the alleged victim of neglect by a Chicago-area nursing home in which he was a resident. The incident took place at a nursing home on the Far North Side of Chicago in February 2011. The claim alleged that the elderly resident was injured as a result of the nursing home’s failure to provide him with proper medical treatment. It was alleged that the nursing home staff members injured the resident when they improperly treated him for an existing illness. This injury caused the resident’s condition to rapidly worsen, causing him severe pain and suffering.

An Illinois nursing home that fails to provide adequate medical treatment to an injured or ill resident is in violation of both Illinois and federal laws. Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45/1-101 (2011)) all nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are required to treat their residents with the same level of care that a reasonably careful nursing home or facility would have used in the same situation. Any treatment given must not only be medically appropriate but also must be given in a timely manner. When a nursing home denies proper medical treatment to a sick or injured resident, as the nursing home in this case was alleged to have done, it may be liable.

The attorneys of Keating Law Offices are committed to protecting the rights of residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Illinois. Our firm has successfully represented victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. If you believe that you or a loved one have been the victim of neglect due to improper or inadequate medical care by a nursing home, please contact our firm. Pursuant to the terms of this settlement agreement, the identity of the parties, the name of the nursing home, and the amount of the settlement are strictly confidential and no further details may be disclosed.

If you have any questions regarding this post, or any issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Attorney Mike Keating — by calling 312-239-6787  312-208-7702 (Nights/Weekends) or emailing him at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All emails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Sexual Assault by Fellow Resident Alleged at North Side Nursing Home

According to an article in the Lincoln Park Patch, a resident of the Wilson Care facility in Chicago, Illinois reported that she was sexually assaulted by a fellow resident on January 1st, 2013. Wilson care is a long-term care facility for individuals with mental illness and substance abuse problems. It is located in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. The assault victim told police that she was attacked in another resident's room at the facility. According to the report, the victim tried to prevent the assault but was unable to stop the mentally-ill patient from attacker her.

Residents of long-term care facilities in Illinois are legally protected from abuse by fellow patients under both federal and state laws. Under Illinois' Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45/), all nursing homes are required to not only protect residents from abuse by employees, but they are also required to protect residents from assault and abuse by other residents in the facility. This includes the duty to protect residents from all types of physical and mental abuse by other residents. When a resident is the victim of an assault by another patient, the nursing home may be liable for failing to keep the resident safe from an easily prevented harm.

Unfortunately, sexual assault perpetrated by one resident against another are not uncommon in Illinois long-term care facilities. According to the most recently available report on long-term care facilities in Illinois, in 2009 there were 54 allegations of sexual assaults committed by one resident against another. The Illinois Department of Public Health has made identifying and preventing attacks against developmentally disabled residents a priority for upcoming years.

Our firm's attorneys have experience representing nursing home residents who have been victimized by their fellow residents. You may have a claim if your loved one is a resident of a long-term care facility or nursing home who has been injured by another resident. If you have questions regarding this post, or any issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Mike Keating by calling him at 312-208-7702 or emailing him at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All emails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.