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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysStudies suggest that over half of all Americans will need to stay in a long-term care facility like a nursing home at least once in their life. For some, a nursing home or assisted living facility becomes their new permanent home. Whether their stay is for one night or for the rest of their lives, residents in a nursing home deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. Their medical needs as well as personal needs should be met to the best of the nursing home’s ability. Various federal and local laws spell out the rights that elderly or disabled people staying in a nursing home have. Tragically, not every nursing home treats residents the way they deserve. Sometimes nursing home abuse and neglect can even lead to an innocent resident’s death.

Nurse Faces Gross Patient Neglect and Forgery Charges

There is much controversy about the role of nursing home staff in taking care of residents. When a resident dies under suspicious or unusual circumstances, it can often be difficult to pinpoint exactly who is to blame. The question of fault is now being considered in a nursing home neglect and abuse case in Ohio. In Putnam County, a trial has begun for a licensed practical nurse who has been blamed for the death of a 76-year-old nursing home resident. Phyllis Campbell passed away due to hypothermia at the Hilty Memorial Nursing Home after she wandered out the doors of the facility and into the courtyard.

Unmonitored Nursing Home Residents May Wander Off into Dangerous Environments

Many elderly nursing home residents have cognitive impairments which make them unable to care for themselves. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are common ailments among the nursing home resident population. Individuals like these often require special care and supervision so that they do not stumble into danger. Campbell was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet when she wandered outside of the nursing home walls and tragically died, but it was improperly attached and it malfunctioned. Because the bracelet did not work as intended, no alarm sounded after the elderly woman eloped. Staff admitted they never checked in on the resident even though a check-in was documented as completed.

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Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect lawyersStaff members at a Long Island, New York nursing home may be facing jail time due to the death of a resident. In December of 2015, 81-year old nursing home resident Carmela Contrera became disconnected from her ventilator. The machine, which was literally keeping the elderly woman alive, is fixed with an alarm for exactly this purpose. The alarm is rigged to sound a warning signal whenever vital machines such as a ventilator become disconnected from the patient. However, nursing home staff claim the alarm never sounded. Contrera sadly passed away because no one came to reattach her ventilator. Now, prosecutors are saying that the alarm did in fact sound, but that the nursing home staff simply ignored the warning. Two registered nurses and one nursing aide have been charged with several counts of felony criminal negligent homicide as well as willful violation of health and safety laws.

Prosecution Says Nursing Home Workers Ignored Ventilator Alarm for Over Nine Minutes

Understandably, nursing home staff can quickly become busy and overwhelmed. Helping residents bathe and eat, dispensing medication, and transporting residents between areas of the nursing home can be a taxing job. However, nursing home staff have a legal obligation to care for residents to the best of their ability. When nursing home staff do things like overlook a fallen resident, skip administering a dose of medication, or in this case, ignore a medical alarm, they are being negligent. Tragically, nursing home abuse and neglect cause thousands of deaths a year.

Understaffing and Inadequate Maintenance May Have Contributed to Resident’s Death

Like hundreds of nursing home facilities across the country, the Long Island nursing home where Contrera died was understaffed. Many nursing homes struggle to afford enough staff members and other facilities skimp on staff training. The state attorney general’s office claims that inadequate staffing of the nursing home set employees up to fail and that Contrera’s death was a “foreseeable tragedy" which could have been prevented. Furthermore, the prosecution has found evidence that a respiratory therapist on staff had failed to adequately check that ventilators and alarms were working properly and instead falsified reports that the required inspection had been accomplished. If convicted, the three former staff members accused of causing Contreras’s death face up to seven years in prison.

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