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Schwartz Injury Law

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Recent blog posts

chicago nursing home medication error lawyerA medication error can happen in any healthcare setting, and nursing homes and assisted living facilities are no exception. When these errors occur, they can cause significant physical and emotional harm to the resident. It is important for family members of those affected to understand what their rights are in the event of a medication error.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you should know how medication errors can occur in nursing homes, the types of injuries that may result from them, and what kind of compensation may be available.

How Do Medication Errors Occur?

Medication errors can occur from a variety of causes. Some of the most common include but are not limited to:

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chicago nursing home injury lawyer Elopement and wandering are two of the biggest risks facing nursing home residents. While it is often assumed that elderly individuals with dementia or Alzheimer's disease are most likely to wander, any resident can become disoriented or confused and attempt to leave a facility. As such, it is important for facility staff and nursing home administrators to be aware of the risks of elopement and implement measures to protect residents from harm.

Who Is at Risk for Wandering?

Residents who are living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are at greatest risk for wandering or eloping from a nursing home facility. Those who have previously attempted to escape or have become lost outside the facility may also be more likely to wander. Additionally, those with vision impairments may be prone to wandering due to difficulty recognizing or understanding their surroundings. It is important for family members and caregivers alike to be aware of these warning signs so they can take steps to address them before it is too late.

What Can Nursing Home Facilities Do to Prevent Wandering?

Nursing homes are required by law to keep residents safe. This includes preventing them from wandering off the premises and becoming lost or injured. In general, nursing facilities should take several proactive steps to ensure that their residents are not put at risk of wandering away from the premises. These include but are not limited:

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elmhurst nursing home abuse lawyerIn 2015, the Illinois legislature passed a law allowing family members to place cameras in the rooms of their loved ones who reside in nursing homes. This law is commonly referred to as the “Granny Cam” law, and it offers families peace of mind knowing that they can monitor their loved one’s daily activities and ensure that they are receiving quality care. Before you install a granny cam, however, there are several things you should know about how this law works.

Who Can Place a Camera?

Under the Granny Cam law, only certain family members—including the resident’s legal guardian or power of attorney, spouse, adult child, sibling, grandchild, or parent—are allowed to place a camera in a nursing home resident’s room. The family member must also provide notice to the facility before installing a camera and obtain permission from any other roommates residing in the same room. Under the law, a roommate who does not wish for a monitoring device to be installed in their room is to be moved by the facility to another room.

What Types of Cameras Are Allowed?

The Granny Cam law allows only most types of cameras to be used inside nursing home facilities. These generally include audio and video recording devices that use visible light spectrum technology. Cameras must be positioned such that they do not record outside the resident's room (e.g., common areas) and should not interfere with normal activities within the room or pose any safety hazards for residents or staff.  Additionally, all recordings made using these cameras must be stored securely so as to protect them from unauthorized access or tampering.

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chicago nursing home injury lawyerAs a family member of a nursing home resident, it is important for you to be aware of the potential choking hazards that exist in these facilities. Nursing home residents are at an increased risk of choking due to age-related issues such as cognitive impairment, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), and muscle weakness. In addition, nursing homes often serve food items that can increase the risk of choking if not properly monitored. To help protect your loved one from harm, it is essential to understand common causes of choking, as well as prevention methods for reducing risks.

Common Causes of Choking in Nursing Homes

While any food item can pose a choking hazard for elderly individuals, there are some foods that are more likely than others. These include nuts and seeds, hard candy, gum, popcorn, raw vegetables (such as carrots and celery sticks), grapes and cherry tomatoes, raisins and other dried fruits, peanut butter and other sticky substances, and meats that have not been cut into small pieces. It is also important to remember that liquids can also be a choking hazard, as many elderly people cannot swallow thick liquids such as milkshakes or smoothies without assistance.

Prevention Tips for Reducing Risks

There are some steps that facilities caregivers can take to reduce the risk of choking among residents of their facility:

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elmhurst nursing home lawyerHead injuries are one of the biggest risks for the elderly in long-term care. Elderly individuals are frail and inherently susceptible to falling. It is no wonder people 75 years and older wind up hospitalized as a result of traumatic brain injuries or TBI. In 2019, more than 223,000 people were hospitalized with TBI. This is nursing home abuse that has no place in a facility where residents are supposed to be cared for and protected. If your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury at a nursing home there are some legal options you should explore.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI?

TBI is an injury that affects how the brain works. It is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. A bump or a blow to the head can cause severe brain injuries that can be temporary or last forever.  

What Happens at Nursing Homes that Leads to TBI?

In the nation, one out of five people fall and either breaks their bones or injure their heads. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. A fall can lead to health complications related to head injuries that can be serious and sometimes fatal. Even if a resident recovers, their life can be forever changed. Here are some reasons why nursing home residents sustain a TBI:

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cook county nursing home abuse lawyerState and federal laws are designed to protect nursing home residents and assisted living residents from abuse. Unfortunately, protecting residents is easier said than done. Nursing home residents may not be able to say they are abused because they have dementia or are afraid to speak up. Loved ones need to be their advocates. 

Nursing home abuse can take many forms, from emotional to physical. If your loved one is spending their last years at a nursing home, they deserve dignity and quality care. More than 1.4 million people are living in nursing homes. This blog will cover how to recognize the signs of physical abuse in a nursing home resident.

Noticing Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse is prevalent in nursing homes because many older people are vulnerable to abuse due to health issues, including conditions causing cognitive impairment. Detecting nursing home abuse may not be easy, but your loved ones are counting on you to be vigilant. Here are some signs that may indicate abuse:

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chicago nursing home neglect lawyerA report from the Human Rights Watch suggests that neglect and isolation caused serious injuries to many people living in nursing homes in recent years. The report claims that many residents did not receive the most basic needs to ensure a decent quality of life. Staffing shortages have been a longstanding issue that have only intensified in recent years. The quality of care diminished even more, exposing troubling trends. If you or a loved one has been abused or neglected at an Illinois nursing home, you have every right to try to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

Inappropriate Use of Psychotropic Medications

Psychotropic medications are used to treat mental disorders, including depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, some staff members inappropriately use the medications to subdue nursing home residents and keep them sleeping. The misuse of antipsychotic drugs and sedatives to control the behavior of nursing home residents is known as a chemical restraint. What is equally alarming is that this group found that these drugs are administered without obtaining consent from residents or their families. Side effects of the medication included confusion, lethargy, and sleepiness. In more serious cases, misuse of psychotropic medications can lead to death.

Malnourishment

There are cases of extreme weight loss examined in this report. Malnutrition is physically apparent when proper nutrition is not taking place. Healthy meals are vital for elderly people due to vitamin deficiencies and age-related conditions. Special diets are often necessary because of their age and depending on their health condition. The risks of malnutrition are great, as it leads to a variety of problems, including increased risk for falls and fractures. Malnourishment is often the result of inadequate staffing, and it could be a red flag for nursing home negligence. 

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chicago nursing home injury lawyerA new study by the University of Chicago found that the number of bedsores at nursing homes continues to be underreported in the United States. When a nursing home resident develops bedsores it is usually due to substandard care and inadequate staffing levels. Unfortunately, nursing homes have failed to replace staff that quit after the pandemic and 82 percent of facilities in the nation did not meet minimum staffing requirements by the federal government before the pandemic. This is alarming especially if a family member is the one with these painful and life-threatening injuries. 

Why do Bedsores Form?

Bedsores or pressure ulcers develop when the blood supply to the skin is cut off for more than two to three hours. As the skin dies, bedsores begin to form and the skin turns red. It is a clear sign that something is not right.

These are injuries to the skin and the underlying tissue due to prolonged pressure on the skin. Bedsores usually develop in these parts of the body:

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Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

cook county nursing home abuse lawyerFox News Channel reported last month that the buildings department in Chicago fined the owner of a senior housing facility $1,500 following the deaths of three residents during a brief May heat wave. The buildings department found 11 code violations. The story is alarming to many people who have loved ones living in nursing homes in the Chicago area.

Everybody wants to assume the nursing home they are leaving their loved one at will be committed to providing the best possible care, but the unfortunate truth remains that too many nursing homes cut back on their services as soon as guests leave and nursing home abuse occurs in too many instances. 

Nursing Home Examination Checklist

When you are in the process of examining nursing homes for your loved one, begin by ensuring a nursing home is Medicaid certified, meaning they have passed an inspection by a state government agency. Also ensure a nursing home offers specialized services, such as special care units for residents with dementia.

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chicago nursing home abuse lawyerThere was a disturbing series of new stories published recently, with WTTW-TV reporting on October 12 that one Chicago hospital has seen at least seven resident deaths and at least 72 citations since January 1, 2017, more than any other Illinois hospital monitored by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on October 17 that an 87-year-old woman was found beaten to death Saturday in a senior home on the South Side.

People are always shocked to learn they are dealing with nursing home abuse, but abuse can be a much more complicated area to handle in wrongful death cases. It is important for families who have questions about the death of one of their loved ones in a nursing home to immediately contact a skilled Chicago nursing home abuse attorney.

How Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claims Work

When you believe that a nursing home was responsible for your loved one’s death, you will need to keep in mind what you are going to have to prove. Namely, you will have to prove that a nursing home had a legal obligation to ensure the safety of the deceased, the nursing home did not take the necessary safety precautions to safeguard the deceased, and the failure was the actual and legal cause of the wrongful death.

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elmhurst nursing home abuse lawyerSexual abuse of a nursing home resident can be incredibly difficult for family members to identify and address to satisfaction. Anybody who is dealing with a nursing home abuse case in which they believe their loved one was sexually abused should immediately contact a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney.

Certain sexual abuse cases could result in both civil and criminal liability issues for nursing homes and their employees. People should familiarize themselves with some of the more common signs of sexual abuse so they can know how to spot when their loved one may be in danger. 

How Common Sexual Abuse Really Is 

CNN reported in 2017 that over 16,000 sexual abuse complaints were reported since 2000 in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It also reported that 226 nursing homes were cited for failure to protect residents from substantiated sexual abuse between 2010 and 2015, and approximately 60 percent led to fines of over $9 million.

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chicago nursing home abuse lawyerThe National Ombudsman Resource Center reports that the Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman Program is authorized under the Older Americans Act and is administered at the state level, meaning every state has an Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The program provides residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities with access to advocacy for ensuring they receive the quality of care and quality of life they need and legally deserve.

When a family has concerns about potential nursing home abuse or neglect involving their loved one, it can cause many people to begin asking questions for which there are not always easy answers. It is important to understand exactly which kinds of services the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program may offer.

Provisions of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program 

The 2nd Quarterly Report from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) included more than 100 licensees in Chicago. The IDPH initiated actions against these facilities for being in violation of the Nursing Home Care Act.

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illinois breathing tube mistake lawyer Breathing tubes are very serious medical apparatuses that are used when a patient can no longer breathe on his or her own. Unfortunately, in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, residents requiring breathing tubes are among the most vulnerable. If there is an error with the insertion of a breathing tube, a patient is injured while being intubated by a breathing tube, or the tube somehow becomes dislodged, the patient may suffer from severe brain damage from lack of oxygen or another life-threatening injury. In some cases, a breathing tube error may even result in a wrongful death from oxygen deprivation.

Breathing tube injuries at nursing homes may be caused by nursing home abuse and neglect. If you have a loved one who suffered from a breathing tube injury, consider consulting with an experienced attorney who can protect your rights and explain your legal options. 

Different types of Breathing Tube Injuries in Nursing Homes

Deciding to send a beloved family member to a nursing home can be challenging and emotional. You likely love this person profoundly and may feel saddened about the state of their health. However, you also know that they can no longer care for themselves and thus require assistance. Therefore, you decide that a nursing home is the best solution for them to be adequately taken care of.

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chicago nursing home abuse lawyerOlder adults are amongst the most vulnerable of our society's population. In many instances, a person of advanced age may be unable to care for themselves properly. In some cases, they may need lots of assistance or just a little help here or there. At the very least, when you place your loved one in a nursing home facility, you expect their needs to be acknowledged and met by the healthcare professionals working there.

Any family's worst nightmare is for their loved one to suffer a life-threatening injury while living in a nursing home facility. Unfortunately, when an injury of this type occurs,it sometimes results from some form of nursing home abuse and neglect. If your loved one has suffered a life-threatening injury while at a nursing home, consider contacting an attorney with experience working in cases where elder abuse may occur. 

Most Common Serious Injuries Suffered in Nursing Homes

There are a variety of severe injuries that older adults can sustain while living in a nursing home. These injuries include:

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Chicago nursing home abuse lawyerDeciding to put your loved one in a nursing home can be extremely difficult. This is a person you love very much. You may feel guilty about reducing their independence. However, suppose your loved one has dementia like Alzheimer's. In that case, nursing homes can be a secure location where your loved one can live in a community with healthcare workers skilled in caring for patients in similar circumstances. 

When you bring your loved one to live in a nursing home facility, you are assuming your loved one will be appropriately taken care of. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect happen frequently in nursing homes, especially against the more vulnerable population, such as residents with Alzheimer's and other dementia-related conditions. These patients are often targeted because the abuser assumes that they will be able to blame the patient's condition for any accusations. If you have reason to believe your loved one is suffering from elder abuse at a nursing home, consider contacting attorneys skilled at representing patients with Alzheimer's or dementia who may be getting abused at a nursing home facility. 

Types of Abuse in Illinois Nursing Homes

 Something that makes cases such as this particularly disturbing is that if a patient has Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, they are far less aware of what is happening around them. In some cases, they may not even be able to articulate what is being done to them. So, if you believe your loved one is being abused, here are a few of the most common forms of abuse in nursing homes:

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nursing home wrongful death lawyerAs their loved ones grow older and lose the ability to take care of themselves, a family may decide the best course of action is to move their loved one into a nursing home facility. When families make difficult decisions such as this, they expect, at the very least, that the facility they are moved into is a safe and caring environment that will adequately take care of the family member they love dearly.

Substandard care in a nursing home facility is any family member's worst nightmare. Further unconscionable is the prospect of a family member dying because of the care they did or did not receive. If you believe your loved one suffered a wrongful death in a nursing home facility, consider contacting a lawyer with experience in nursing home abuse and neglect to understand your rights and the options you have moving forward.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home?

Wrongful death in a nursing home means that your loved one would likely still be alive today had they received proper care and were not subject to neglect or abuse. It is excruciating to lose your loved one under any circumstances. This is especially true if you suspect their death was hastened by the immoral conduct of another person or healthcare facility. 

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cook county nursing home lawyerStudies show that a tragic number of vulnerable adults are abused or neglected in nursing homes across the country, and that the longer someone stays in a nursing home, the likelier they are to face abuse or neglect. When stories of nursing home abuse make headlines regularly, those with loved ones in residential care facilities may be wondering how such a thing can continue to happen. 

Unfortunately, the answer lies in a problem that currently plagues a large portion of the U.S. economy and hits caregiving occupations particularly hard: difficulty recruiting and retaining quality staff. When nursing homes have a hard time hiring enough staff to properly care for their residents, they often resort to hiring subpar candidates, overlooking criminal backgrounds, questionable work histories, or a lack of appropriate qualifications. Sadly - although perhaps, predictably - inadequate staffing results in higher rates of abuse and neglect

What Should I Do if I Think My Parent is Being Abused in a Nursing Home? 

Vulnerable nursing home residents often struggle to communicate when something is wrong, and it is those patients who have the hardest time communicating who may be at the highest risk of abuse. Because you know your parent or loved one better than anyone else, it is important to stay as present in their life as possible so you can be aware when they suffer from an inexplicable change in condition. 

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Cook County Nursing Home Injury LawyerElderly and sickly residents of Illinois nursing homes are at an increased risk of many different illnesses and injuries. Because of an elderly body’s compromised immune system and slower healing times, injuries that would heal quickly for a younger person can cause serious damage and even lead to unexpected fatalities in nursing home residents. 

Some of these seemingly mild injuries that can become very serious are bone fractures. Because bone fractures are usually not as serious as outright breaks, they tend to get overlooked as a contributing factor to serious pain, loss of life quality, and increased risk of death. But it is important to take bone fractures in elderly nursing home residents seriously and to be aware of avoidable causes like nursing home neglect

Fractured Bones Can Be Caused When Unsupervised Residents Fall

While bones can fracture under many circumstances, the vast majority of bone fractures in elderly people happen when someone falls. Osteoporosis weakens bones and makes them more likely to break or fracture, making even mild falls potentially very serious. Reduced vision, balance, and energy all contribute to the likelihood of a resident falling. 

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Cook County Nursing Home Abuse LawyersNursing home residents are often elderly and physically frail, causing them to easily fall victim to diseases and illnesses which are non-threatening in otherwise healthy populations. Illinois nursing homes must meet a high standard of care to make sure that elderly residents are not subjected to conditions that could cause serious illness or death, and–if dangerous conditions are present in a nursing home–that residents are immediately treated. If your loved one has suffered or died from gastroenteritis or another serious infection, contact an Illinois nursing home neglect attorney right away. 

What is Gastroenteritis? 

Gastroenteritis is a serious condition caused by viral and bacterial infections that irritate the stomach and intestines and cause them to become inflamed. Nursing home residents are four times more likely to die from gastroenteritis and are generally infected after being exposed to another infected person or contaminated food or water. Symptoms of gastroenteritis include: 

  • Watery diarrhea

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Chicago Nursing Home Life-Threatening Injury LawyerWhen you made the decision to place your loved one in the care of an Illinois nursing home, you likely had no idea that the facility would do anything other than conform to the highest standard of care. Unfortunately, many nursing homes suffer from chronic issues of understaffing and poor training that can have a severe impact on the quality of the care that residents receive. 

One of the most traumatic things that can happen to a family is receiving a call informing them that their parent, grandparent, or other loved one has been seriously injured in an accident in a nursing home. While some of these accidents are the inevitable result of aging bodies that struggle with mobility, others are the result of inadequate supervision, a dangerous environment, and even sometimes a result of abuse and neglect at the hands of nursing home staff. If you have gotten news that your loved one has been seriously injured at a nursing home, it is important to get details about the incident as soon as possible. An experienced Illinois nursing home injury attorney can help. 

How Do Nursing Home Residents Sustain Serious Injuries? 

Nursing homes are not often thought of as hotbeds of risk and danger. Residents’ lives are typically routine and relaxed, filled with enrichment programming and other activities designed for elderly people with limited mobility or intellectual faculties. However, there are many ways serious injuries can occur in a nursing home. These include, but are not limited to: 

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