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Deaths in nursing homes prompts help from Department of Health

There is a silent but deadly threat lurking in some of the nation's nursing care facilities. At two different sites in Illinois' neighboring state of Minnesota, staff members may have been responsible for the deaths of at least two residents. The Minnesota Department of Health has issued a report stating that those supervising the facilities senior citizens did not provide the necessary medical care for these individuals.

There has been a rise in the reports of abuse and neglect in the treatment of our nation's elderly. One report indicated complaints resulting from inadequate care have tripled between 2010 and 2013.

In one case, a nurse's assistant was caring for a patient who was having difficulty breathing, and she removed the oxygen mask. The resident was then sent in a non-emergency vehicle to an appointment two hours away. The resident passed away from cardio-respiratory arrest shortly afterward.

One elderly female was not provided food or water for more than 18 hours due to a mis-communication that the woman had been transferred to another area. She was later found in the bathroom, bruised and with injuries serious enough to result in her death the following day.

Other complaints center around residents who have limited mobility and are unable to call for help, who then fall down and suffer fractures. There have also been allegations of verbal abuse at some centers.

The Department of Health determined an unusual amount of violations were reported in a nearby nursing home and seized control of the facility. They found numerous infractions.

One expert explains the heinous nature of rising numbers of abuse or neglect in assisted living or nursing facilities is due to lack of trained staff and lack of interest in monitoring such behavior.

In the state of Illinois, if you have a loved one or family member at a nursing home, he or she deserves to be cared for under the optimum medical standards. If you know someone whose rights have been neglected or abused, it is recommended you seek help from an experienced legal advocate who can represent your loved one's rights in cases of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Source: Star Tribune, "Deaths at 2 senior homes highlight sharp rise in abuse, neglect" Chris Serres, Aug. 22, 2014

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