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Schwartz Injury Law

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Chicago nursing home injury attorneyTransitioning from an independent or somewhat independent life to a life lived within the bounds of a nursing home can be a major adjustment for elderly and disabled people. Nursing home residents who are struggling with nursing home rules and restrictions may even attempt to “escape” the facility. The threat of wandering and elopement is especially concerning when a resident has Alzheimer’s disease or another illness that affects his or her ability to think clearly. Residents who wander into unsafe areas of the nursing home or who leave the facility unnoticed may be seriously injured or even killed.

Wandering Around the Facility Unsupervised Can Be Very Dangerous

The term “wandering” refers to a resident roaming a nursing home facility unsupervised. The level of independence nursing home residents can enjoy varies greatly from person to person. Some residents are fully capable of getting out of bed and going to a communal space such as a dining hall on their own. Others need help moving safely from place to place. Staff should be aware of residents’ limitations and should provide assistance and supervision accordingly. The biggest concern when it comes to wandering is that a resident will get into an unsafe situation. Residents who wander may go into a kitchen area and burn themselves or slip and fall in a hidden corner of the facility where they are not discovered for hours.

Elopement is Often Deadly

When residents do not realize the consequences of their actions, are confused, or simply want to go home, they may try to leave the facility. This is referred to as elopement. Nursing home residents who leave the facility – especially those with impaired cognition – may become lost and unsure of how to get back inside. They may trip, slip, or fall and seriously injure themselves. They may even wander into traffic and be hit by a car. Sadly, elopement can have deadly consequences. About 70 percent of the claims brought against negligent facilities for resident elopement involve a resident’s death.

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Chicago nursing home injury attorneysNews stories involving nursing home abuse and neglect are tragically frequent occurrences in the United States. In many such stories, residents and their families are suing nursing homes which provide poor care, or even worse, subject innocent nursing home residents to abuse and purposeful mistreatment. At the heart of many nursing home abuse and neglect cases are problems with nursing home staff. Many nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are understaffed or employ staff who are not adequately trained. When staffing issues plague a nursing home, it is often the residents who end up suffering.

Understaffed Nursing Homes Put Residents at Increased Risk of Medical Complications

You may have previously heard about staffing issues at nursing homes, but few recognize how serious the problem really is. According to one report prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services, an incredible 90 percent of U.S. nursing homes are understaffed. Residents in facilities which do not have enough nurses, nurses’ aides, or other staff members are more likely to suffer from many preventable maladies including bedsores, infections, dehydration, malnutrition, weight loss, and pneumonia.

Often, nursing home staff are simply too overworked to notice when the residents entrusted to their care need medical attention. In one survey, nearly half of the nurses who responded admitted to missing the signs of worsening patient condition due to their high workload. Lack of supervision caused by understaffing is also a major cause of resident wandering and elopement.

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Chicago nursing home neglect attorneyVeterans risked their lives to protect the freedoms that we enjoy every day. Sadly, many veterans are not receiving the compassionate and competent care they deserve. Nursing homes across the country are understaffed and staffed by employees who are not adequately trained. Tragically, thousands of nursing home residents, many of whom are veterans, die because of negligent or understaffed nursing homes.

Blind Nursing Home Resident with Dementia Passes Away After a Head Injury

Lawmakers in Iowa are now questioning the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) about a nursing home resident’s unexpected death in a Veterans Affairs nursing home. In December of last year, a 91-year-old World War II veteran passed away after a suffering massive head injury in a VA facility. The man, who is legally blind and suffers from dementia, had been removed from one-on-one supervision at the nursing home prior to his fatal fall.

According to medical records, the man frequently wandered around the facility and into other residents' rooms. While wandering unsupervised, he tipped his wheelchair over backwards and hit his head causing a brain bleed. Surveillance video and medical records show that the nursing home staff did not report the incident for 40 minutes after the elderly man hit his head. They then waited over two hours before taking him to the emergency room. The man suffered for five hours total before being transferred to a trauma hospital. He tragically passed away from the head injury two days later. Family members of the deceased as well as lawmakers are demanding an explanation as to why medical treatment was so delayed.

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