Understaffed nursing homes are detrimental to residents who have the right to quality health care. Government and private nursing home operators operate within budgets that all too often take precedence over safety. Illinois nursing home neglect is just as likely to be caused by an overworked employee as it is a lax one.
A 97-year-old woman was a resident of a county-run nursing home for five years before her death. In September 2011, a nurse was attempting to lift the woman from a chair into a bed when the patient fell to the floor. The caregiver was supposed to use a mechanical lift with the help of at least one other person before moving the patient.
Three days later, nursing home staff members observed that the patient’s shoulder was bruised and her knee was swollen. Tylenol was administered the next day. The elderly resident’s leg grew increasingly tender and painful. An X-ray was ordered. It showed that the already seriously ill woman’s shin and thigh bones were broken.
Surgeons could not repair the damage because the resident’s health was too frail. The woman suffered with the pain for eight days before she died.
State health officials cited the facility for moving the woman unsafely, delaying needed treatment and failing to properly investigate. Within two months of her death the federal government added the county home to a list of national elder care facilities with poor reputations. Next month, a private operator will take over the home that became too expensive for the county to operate.
The website for the Syracuse Post-Standard reported that county officials agreed to a $250,000 settlement for the victim’s family. Officials expect more nursing home negligence lawsuits over care at the same facility.
Injuries from falls, medication mistakes and abuse are just some of the negligent practices in nursing homes. Caregivers and facility operators are held responsible in Illinois civil courts for the harm they cause.
Source: syracuse.com, “Failure to treat 97-year-old Van Duyn patient’s broken femur leads to death, $250,000 settlement” Glenn Coin, Nov. 01, 2013