Illinois nursing home care questioned after death of Chicago man

A patient at a Chicago nursing home failed to receive immediate care after suffering burns that took his life. Just days before he was to be released from the rehabilitation facility, the man's shirt started on fire. Nursing staff sprayed him directly with a fire extinguisher to put out the flames and did not provide necessary aid before a rescue crew arrived ten minutes later. The patient died of a heart attack shortly after the incident.

An expert stated in the Huffington Post report that the man may have lived if proper care was administered right away by care providers at the home. The care facility has been sued by the man's family for wrongful death and it was cited by authorities for failing to properly train staff.

Illinois care gives cause for concern

According to Families for Better Care - a citizen advocacy group which monitors nursing home care quality across the nation - Illinois is one of two states to receive a failing grade for care provided by its nursing home facilities. The group claims that patients are not provided adequate care, mostly due to a lack of sufficient staff members, and the facilities have high rates of serious incidents and deficiencies such as:

  • Improperly medicating patients.
  • Failure to note, prevent and properly care for injuries.
  • Abuse, neglect and mistreatment.
  • Lack of patient monitoring.

Just recently, The New York Times reported that many nursing homes fail to install adequate sprinkler systems. Automatic sprinklers are required in nursing facilities constructed since 2000 and in homes certified by Medicare and Medicaid, but hundreds of older buildings fail to comply with federal regulations requiring such systems. Nearly 20 nursing homes in Illinois have no sprinkler systems at all.

What can you do?

When families come together for the upcoming holidays, they should communicate their concerns and compare notes regarding the care their loved ones are receiving. During visits to family members in nursing facilities, pay careful attention to the physical and mental wellbeing of those you are visiting. Make a note of any personal injuries or unexplained bruises.

Proper dental care is often overlooked in nursing homes and the issue is reaching epic proportions. When staffers are overworked, daily teeth cleaning often falls by the wayside. This is an issue family members may easily check themselves.

Additionally, USA Today recently exposed widespread stories of theft from trust fund accounts of patients. Federal and state regulators have cited over 1,500 nursing homes across the nation for mismanaging and raiding patient accounts. Diligent oversight by family members is often needed.

If you are concerned about the level of care a loved one is receiving, or someone you know has suffered an injury or loss due to abuse, neglect or improper treatment, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. An attorney knowledgeable about nursing home care cases can help.