Illinois Nursing Home Resident Drowns in Bathtub

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Jean Engstrom, a 51-year-old woman who was mentally ill, drowned on July 4th in a bathtub at the West Rogers Park facility where she was discovered with the water still running.  The Cook County medical examiner’s office have yet to determine whether the drowning was accidental, or perhaps a suicide or homicide.  Whether or not this was a case of nursing home abuse or neglect is still in question.

Nursing homes in Chicago and elsewhere are supposed to supervise residents with medical or mental conditions when needed as they bathe.  When a resident has a severe mental deficiency they require monitoring, because some people with these conditions do become suicidal.  While it seems nearly impossible, an individual can drown in only inches of water in a bucket, bathtub, pool or any other source of water, and it takes only 4 minutes without oxygen for permanent brain damage or even death to occur. Frequently, especially with someone who is mentally ill or elderly, victims are unable to call for assistance.

While it isn’t clear what happened in Engstrom’s case, it is nonetheless a tragic situation.  If someone was supposed to be supervising due to her mental condition, the Warren Park Nursing Pavilion may be looking at severe penalties or fines.

Nursing home abuse and neglect does not only occur when a resident is slapped or hit.  Various types of neglect can include failure to provide meals and medications on time or staff members not assisting when an elderly or disabled resident needs to bathe or visit the toilet.  Some residents have fractures or other injuries that prevent them from getting out of bed on their own, and they need assistance as well.  Abuse can be mental as well as physical, as some nursing home employees taunt residents and threaten them.

You expect your loved one to be provided for and taken care of when they enter a nursing home or elder care facility.  If you suspect abuse or neglect, report it to authorities immediately.  If you still get no satisfaction, contact a capable Buffalo nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer to learn about the rights of your loved one.

Brown Chiari can help you with any Buffalo personal injury attorney needs.  Brown Chiari specializes in nursing home abuse, food poisoning, construction accidents and trucking accidents.

Elderly Woman Allegedly Raped at Tennessee Nursing Home

Monday, July 26th, 2010

While we all know that nursing homes often fail to provide the care and protection our elderly loved ones are entitled to, nursing homes often fail to provide adequate security when it comes to visitors.  Unfortunately, the lax practice of letting visitors come and go with hardly a notice by staff members has resulted in what is alleged as rape at Woods Nursing Home in Tennessee.

Just days ago, an 18 year old man entered the facility to visit a patient at the nursing home, and allegedly raped the elderly female patient.  A Madisonville man has been accused of the crime against the woman, who is 79 years old.  The nursing home is located in Sweetwater, Tennessee and police department spokesman Kenny Wilkins reported that Caleb Belcher, the 18 year old man in question, was arrested on charges of rape and elder abuse and held without bond.
Sweetwater police were assisted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

While most of us realize that nursing home abuse and neglect does occur in many of the facilities we trust the care of our loved ones to, we don’t usually think about such brutal acts as rape.  Nursing homes should do a better job of policing who comes in to their facility, so that things like this do not happen.  If nursing homes were to account for visitors, determine which resident they are there to visit, and have them sign in and out, horrendous acts like this would not occur.

Elderly people are vulnerable, and should never be subjected to this type of treatment.  If nursing homes enforced stricter visitor policies, an incident such as this one would never be a worry to family members who have loved ones in nursing home facilities.  There are enough issues in nursing homes and elderly care facilities without having to worry about your loved one being the victim of a brutal attack.

Nursing home residents have rights, and should be protected.  If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or elderly care facility, alert authorities.  A reputable Buffalo nursing home abuse lawyer can advise you on what steps you should take if you believe your loved one is being mistreated or improperly cared for in a nursing home.

Brown Chiari is a team of experienced Buffalo personal injury attorneys helping victims of personal injury incidents with legal representation.

While Elder Abuse is Widespread, Few Cases Get Reported

Monday, July 19th, 2010

According to an article appearing in the Tennessean.com concerning elder abuse, only 1 out of 23 cases usually gets reported to authorities.

How can this happen?  The article states that the primary reason is that our elderly loved ones often have very limited access to the outside world, due to the control of those who are their caregivers – and who inflict the biggest part of the abuse on our family members.  Since caregivers have this control over residents of nursing homes in some instances, the abuse never gets reported to authorities.

While some people think of abuse as striking or physically assaulting someone, there are many forms of abuse.  In a nursing home, elder abuse can be anything from intentional isolation to neglecting to provide food and medications on time.  Our elderly loved ones are also often frightened that they may be punished, so they do not report these incidents to either family members or authorities at the facility.

Sometimes, family members are too quick to ignore symptoms of abuse or neglect; they are oblivious to the fact that abuse does take place at a nursing home or elder care facility.  While we should be able to trust in the fact that our loved ones are getting great care in these facilities and are well provided for, this is often not the case.

For those of you with loved ones in a nursing home, the following may indicate that your family member is being abused, although these symptoms certainly do not prove abuse:

Bed sores
Abrupt change in behavior
Disturbed or changed sleeping patterns
Dirty living conditions
Bed sores
Fractures/unknown bruising
Withdrawal
Substantial withdrawals from bank accounts

The sooner that authorities are contacted after suspected abuse or neglect, the more likely the perpetrator inflicting the abuse will be caught.  Elderly people offer suffer from dementia and other conditions that affect the memory, so evidence that could prove to be valuable may soon fade away if not acted upon promptly.

If you suspect your loved one is being neglectedor abused in a nursing home, contact a New York elder abuse attorney at once.  Your loved one has rights, and unsatisfactory treatment in a nursing home or elder care facility is unacceptable.

Plattsburgh, NY Nursing Home Employee Sentenced to Three Years Probation Following Resident Neglect

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Dawn Andrews, a Certified Nurse’s Aide at a Clinton County nursing home facility in Plattsburgh, has been sentenced to three years probation and 100 hours of community service following a case of neglect that resulted in a resident’s fall from a toilet, which led to a fracture. The aide will also be required to pay $700 in fines.

Andrews reportedly failed to follow a care plan for toileting and left a resident along during toileting.  The resident suffers from dementia, and was left alone even though the current care plan calls for assistance and monitoring when a resident is using the toilet.  The resident suffered a hip fracture as a result of the fall.

Unfortunately, this scene takes place all too often in nursing homes and elder care facilities, where staff members often offer an excuse of “it happens.”  Elderly people do fall more often, as they often lose strength and become feeble.  This is no excuse in a nursing home, where our elderly family members are expected to be cared for and nurtured.  Staff members, nurses and aides should all abide by the rules, and monitor all residents closely so that unfortunate accidents like this one do not happen.  This could have easily been prevented if the nurse’s aide had followed the care plan set forth by the nursing home.

It is true that elderly people are more prone to falling, but never accept excuses for nursing home neglect.  Staff should carefully monitor residents when they are getting out of bed, toileting, showering or even getting up out of a chair if they are feeble or suffer from conditions that make them unstable.

If your loved one has fallen or been injured in a nursing home, or you suspect that they are being neglected or abused, do not hesitate to take action.  Contact a competent Buffalo NY nursing home injury attorney who can advise you of your rights, and what action if any should be taken.

Brown Chiari are experienced Buffalo personal injury attorneys