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Schwartz Injury Law

312-535-4625

60 W. Randolph Street, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60601

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Chicago nursing home choking injury attorneysElderly and disabled nursing home residents need help to safely carry out many everyday activities, including eating. Even if a resident is able to eat on his or her own, staff should monitor residents for signs that they may be struggling. Choking is a deadly hazard in nursing homes. Within a matter of minutes, a resident can be killed or suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen caused by choking.

Issues That Increase the Risk of Choking

According to the National Safety Council, over 5,000 people lost their lives because of choking in 2015 alone. Just under 3,000 of these choking victims were over age 74. Elderly people are often especially at risk of choking. Their mouth and esophagus muscles may be weakened from illness or age or they may have other problems such as dry mouth that increase choking risks. 

Some medical conditions increase the chances of choking in individuals of all ages, including:

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Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect lawyersNursing home neglect and abuse are sad realities in the United States. Understaffing, inadequate staff training, negligent hiring practices, and other problems can lead to injurious or even fatally substandard care. News stories about nursing home neglect and intentional abuse are also not uncommon. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you may worry about what is going on behind closed doors. You may have considered leaving a hidden camera in your loved one’s room in order to monitor the care he or she is getting but have questions about the legality of this type of surveillance.

Nursing Home Abuse Comes in Many Forms

Unfortunately, there have been instances in which nursing home staff have deliberately hurt residents physically, emotionally, or sexually. Many nursing home residents suffer from illness that impair their memory or cognition. This can make it very difficult for the residents to report abuse or neglect. Sometimes, nursing home residents are aware that the treatment they are receiving is unacceptable, but they are too afraid to speak up about it to staff or their family. Issues such as these lead some people to install cameras in their loved one’s room at the nursing home.

Are Nursing Home Cameras Legal?

You may wonder if hiding a camera in your loved one’s room for the purposes of monitoring their care is even legal. Laws regulating recording others vary considerably from state to state. In Illinois, nursing home cameras are subject to the Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Facilities Act. This law makes it legal for families to install video cameras in their loved one’s room under certain circumstances. The camera must only be installed in the resident’s room and not in a common area of the nursing facility. The camera must also be in a conspicuous location. So, hidden cameras or “spy cameras” are not permitted. Furthermore, there must be a notice posted outside of the resident’s room that informs others of the electronic monitoring. The nursing home resident or his or her guardian and any roommates must give written consent before a camera can be placed in the room.

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Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysNursing homes have a legal duty to provide reasonably skilled care to residents. They are expected to help the residents with personal hygiene, meal times, and everyday tasks. Nursing home staff are also expected to provide competent medical care. This may include administering medication, recognizing the signs and symptoms of illnesses, caring for injuries, and more. If a resident suffers a health concern that the nursing home staff are not equipped to deal with, staff should arrange for the resident to receive the medical care he or she needs through other means. Failure to provide medical care may lead to a nursing home neglect and abuse claim.  

Understaffing Can Lead to Inadequate Medical Care

Nursing home staff typically consists of nurses, certified nursing assistants, physical therapists, dieticians, administrative employees, and support employees such as custodians. Federal law mandates that a registered nurse be on duty at least eight hours each day, seven days a week. At least one licensed nurse must be on duty 24 hours a day. There should also be enough additional staff such as nurse aides to ensure that residents are properly cared for. 

Unfortunately, understaffing is a major problem in Illinois nursing homes and facilities across the country. When there are not enough staff, residents may suffer from insufficient medical care including:

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IL nursing home abuse lawyerWhen people think about nursing home and neglect, images of overmedicated or malnourished residents may come to mind. However, nursing home neglect is not always this obvious. In fact, one of the least visible forms of nursing home negligence is also one of the most dangerous. The problem of inadequate sanitation may not be immediately obvious, but it can have deadly consequences for residents. When nursing home staff do not keep the facility clean, viruses and bacteria can spread rapidly endangering the lives of the residents who call the facility home.

Residents Are Vulnerable to Illness and Infection

Everyone knows that it is important to wash your hands frequently in order to prevent the spread of disease. Proper hygiene is especially crucial for workers in medical facilities such as nursing homes. When nursing home staff fail to wash their hands between assisting residents, they can transfer pathogens from one resident to the next. If the facility itself is not properly sanitized, germs have the opportunity to multiply and spread throughout the building. Residents who are elderly or have weakened immune systems are particularly prone to disease and infections. They can become sick rapidly. If staff do not recognize the signs of the illness and provide the necessary medical treatment right away, the illness could prove fatal.

Unsanitary conditions in nursing homes are often the result of overworked and undertrained employees. Many nursing homes are extremely understaffed. Staff may fail to practice good hygiene or maintain a sanitary facility because they forget this essential task or because they wrongly assume that sanitation is not a high priority.

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Chicago assisted living center abuse and neglect lawyersWhen an elderly or disabled person cannot safely live on his or her own, but his or her medical concerns are not substantial enough to necessitate nursing home care, an assisted living facility is often the right choice. Assisted living homes may have a health clinic and nursing staff, but helping residents with daily living tasks such as cleaning and cooking is typically the main focus. Residents in an assisted living facility often have a greater level of independence than those in a nursing home, but people in assisted living facilities may still suffer from mistreatment.

Types of Abuse Experienced by Residents in Assisted Living Homes

Although assisted living residents have some degree of self-sufficiency, they can still be victims of neglect and abuse. Neglect may involve negligent medication errors and skipped medication doses, inadequate assistance with daily living tasks, failure to provide residents with basic necessities, allowing unsanitary or unsafe conditions to exist in the facility, and more.

Assisted living abuse may involve several different types of abuse including:

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