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Nursing home deaths, abuse and neglect under the limelight

An Illinois nursing home has been sued by two social workers, both ex-employees, who are alleging that they lost their jobs because they refused to falsify records of patients. The employees were given instructions to create false medical records related to cases of abuse of patients at the facility. The case may help place nursing home deaths and the abuse and neglect of patients under the limelight.

It may also lead to personal injury and wrongful death claims. Families who suspect that the death of a loved one may be attributed to neglect or abuse of nursing home staff should not be deterred by financial constraints to take legal steps. Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means no initial financial implications for the client.

The facility named in the case is a 309-bed home that caters for geriatric bed-bound and younger patients suffering from mental illness, convicted felons and drug addicts. The accusations made by the employees vary from instructions to falsify medical records of a patient believed to be assaulted, destruction of a report relating to a sexual assault complaint made by a patient, as well as the falsification reports relating to a patient's request to be discharged. In each of these cases, state health department inspections concluded some form of fault on the side of the facility. The facility has also been named in police cases involving sexual and physical assault, with at least one death due to assault.

Allegations of abuse, neglect and even nursing home deaths point to the vulnerability of geriatric and younger bed-bound patients in nursing homes. Illinois law allows for the families, or legal estate, of patients who have died under suspicious circumstances to take legal action against the facility and any personnel involved. Any person who suspects a facility is involved in negligent or unlawful activity may benefit from a consultation with a lawyer regarding the possibility of filing a wrongful death or personal injury claim.

Source: chicagotribune.com, "Ex-employees allege nursing home tried to mislead inspectors on abuse", David Jackson and Gary Marx, Dec. 22, 2016

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