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Ignoring substance abuse may lead to Illinois nursing home deaths

When most people think of residents that live in nursing homes, they often envision people at the end of their lives who need round-the-clock medical care and monitoring. However, there are some younger patients, such as those who lose a limb, who need a short-term convalescence and find themselves residing in a nursing home for care. In Illinois and around the country, there are some nursing home deaths which occur because of a general negligence of substance abuse care and counseling.

A recent article describes the tragic story of a 43-year-old man who entered a nursing home after severe infections required the amputation of his left leg below the knee. He entered the facility in order to heal and to learn how to walk with a prosthetic limb. It is not known whether his infections were a result of his addiction to opioids, but it is recorded that he entered the facility while taking medicine to curb his craving for heroin.

During his time in the nursing home, the patient did not receive any substance abuse counseling. However, according to state reports, he did receive escalating amounts of opioid medicines. Records demonstrate that only three days after he was released from the nursing home, the patient died from an overdose of an opioid medication.

Many in Illinois may not know where to turn when a loved one has passed away in a similar situation. Unfortunately, nursing home deaths are becoming more common due to lax restrictions and lack of state oversights. Surviving family members may want to discuss their unique situations with attorneys who focus in wrongful death litigation.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Tragic consequences when nursing homes neglect substance abuse", Kay Lazar, Sept. 10, 2016

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