A very troubling case of nursing home abuse occurred at Rosewood Care Center in March of 2014 when two nursing aides were caught physically abusing a 97-year-old resident of Rosewood Care Center in St. Charles, Illinois. One aide slapped the resident with a nylon strap while the other nursing aide recorded the terrible incident. The resident was heard crying “Don’t! Don’t!” as the nursing aides could be heard laughing in the background.
Recently, the two teenage nursing aides plead guilty to the offense, receiving two years of probation and 100 hours of community service. If they had been found guilty they could have faced up to five years in prison. Many were shocked at such a light sentence following such an egregious act, and prosecutors were quick to point to the fact that the 97-year-old resident of Rosewood who was repeatedly slapped with a nylon strap was not “seriously injured.”
The belief by the prosecutor that a plea of probation and community service was appropriate appears to have been in part due to the lack of injury the nursing home resident suffered. This thinking is the same type of thinking that led to the creation of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Before the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act was signed into law, many attorneys would turn down potential lawsuits against nursing homes, claiming that there were “limited damages.” This would essentially leave nursing homes unpunished for acts of abuse or neglect towards their residents. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act changed that when they allowed for the recovery of attorney fees and costs if a successful case is brought for a violation of the Act. Now, even if an attorney only recovers one dollar for a violation of the Nursing Home Care Act, fees and costs can be awarded. Fees and costs vary from case to case but can at times be over $100,000.00.
While people can differ in their opinion as to what an appropriate plea would look like for a situation like this, it is important to remember that regardless of a resident sustaining a significant injury, protecting the elderly from abuse must be made a priority. Nursing home residents are some of the most helpless individuals in society due to their physical and mental conditions. In fact, due to the cognitive deficits of many nursing home residents, many instances of abuse and neglect go unreported.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, call a local experienced attorney today to find out your rights under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and to protect your loved one from future abuse.