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Illinois nursing facility charged with resident neglect

At first glance, the children of an elderly relative were impressed with the brochures depicting the high quality of care promised to one multiple sclerosis patient confined to a wheelchair. After she had broken a hip, her family felt the next step for her would be to get round-the-clock care.

Investigators from a local news agency were dispatched to gather facts for a study. Their goal was to attempt to find an in-between situation for those needing basic daily care but not yet ready for assisted nursing care.

The results were startling. When one investigator found that there are significant deficiencies in assisted living facilities, concerns were raised. This was not only for the lack of quality care, but also for the multiple state violations they had been given regarding adequate staffing and more serious medical complications that can escalate.

One facility was been charged with negligence for having left a patient on an oxygen tent that was empty for six weeks. The patient eventually died of respiratory failure. Another pointed out a patient with a fractured shin bone and thigh bone that both went untreated for days.

A resident taken to an outside physician for an examination of bedsores instructed the facility what do. They later failed to follow his orders. The lawsuit charges that this negligence caused the woman to come down with a Stage V pressure that became infected, required surgery and resulted in her death.

One allegation implies the facilities want to keep the patients there so they can "maintain census," a means by which to bring in revenue. In some cases, this can be as high as $5,000 a patient.

The search for quality and non-quality facilities is long and exhaustive. Experts indicate they need more outspoken advocates to promote better inspections and ask the right questions. There is help available from people who do know and who can act in your behalf.

They recommend monitoring your loved one at a facility, being observant of any behavior changes or eating patterns, watching for changes in hygiene, or sudden lapses of routine or erratic actions. Seek help from an organization familiar with nursing home neglect that can evaluate staff performance regularly to help ensure they meet the high standards within the parameters of the law.

Source: Chicago CBS Local, "2 Investigators: Assisted-Living Facility Neglected Resident, Suit Says" Pam Zekman, Feb. 24, 2014

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