As most patients in Chicago area nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities are of the age to qualify for Medicare benefits, they are afforded certain legal rights under the Medicare program. Not only can a facility be punished by Medicare if they violate these rights, a violation can also form the basis of a personal injury, medical malpractice, or wrongful death lawsuit if it turns out that a patient is injured or killed as a result of the violation.
A previous post on this blog talked about how an Illinois nursing home got fined after a patient left a nursing home without being noticed. The home received the fine for violating rules and regulations that govern nursing homes.
An Illinois nursing home received a $75,000 fine recently for violations in two unrelated incidents, including a nursing home death. In one case, a patient died after being strangled on his own nightgown straps. In a separate case, a patient left the nursing home undetected.
Partially in response to a lobbying effort by a trade association representing nursing homes, the federal administrative agency in charge of Medicare and Medicaid has changed its approach to fining nursing homes which are caught not properly caring for patients.
A previous post on this blog talked about how malnutrition in nursing homes is way too common in Illinois. Making matters worse, malnutrition cases in nursing homes are preventable as usually, a little bit of awareness on the part of the nursing home's staff can stop a case of malnutrition from developing.
One type of neglect that is, sadly, too common in Illinois nursing homes, including those in the greater Chicago area, occurs when the nursing home's patients are malnourished or dehydrated. While it is never excusable for a nursing home patient to suffer from malnutrition or dehydration, it is also rarely the intent of a nursing home employee to starve one of their patients or deprive them of the water. As such, the question becomes, what exactly leads to a patient getting seriously ill or dying because of malnutrition?
A previous blog post suggested that bed sores are common in Chicago-area nursing homes, but they are not excusable. If a bed sore leads to a serious condition, like fatal infections, family members have the right to pursue compensation.
Although bed sores are relatively common occurrences in the nursing homes and other assisted living facilities of Cook County and the greater Chicago area, that does not make their occurrence excusable.
Many Americans, including those from the Cook County, Illinois, area, know someone who has stayed at a nursing home. It is not uncommon for those who are ill, suffer a permanent injury or are elderly and unable to take care of themselves to stay at a nursing home for care. In fact, in 2014 alone, there were as many as 15,000 nursing homes in the United States with over 1.4 million residents.
Residents of nursing home are completely dependent on nursing home staff to take care of their daily needs, including their healthcare needs. If a resident's health is not taken care of, his or her condition could quickly deteriorate. These matters may only be made worse if it is believed that the resident's worsened condition was due to an act of negligence or nursing home abuse.