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Nursing Home Brain Injuries

nursing home brain injury

When people place their vulnerable elderly relatives in a nursing home, we expect they can handle their needs. Many elderly people need help with daily activities. Generally, staff is incredibly friendly, supportive and available for all kind of help. Unfortunately, sometimes residents suffer neglect and negligence. This neglect can lead to traumatic brain injuries.

An incident took place in Bartow County, Georgia where an employee of a nursing home was convicted for forcing an elderly woman – 95 years old – to strike herself in the face. The employee had pinched the victim’s earlobe and forced the elderly women to repeatedly hit herself in the face. The employee was found guilty of the offenses.

What Head Injuries Occur at Nursing Homes

Head injuries can occur due to:

  • falls out of a bed,
  • slips in a bathroom,
  • improper bed rails,
  • wet floors,
  • transportation related injuries, and
  • weak upper bodies that cannot catch a slip or fall.

50% of deaths that occur due to falling occur after a head injury. Additionally, 32% of hospital admissions involving a head injury result from a fall. Of these head injuries, 25% occur in elderly adults who are in a nursing home facility.

How Can Nursing Homes Reduce Head Injuries

Nursing home staff must reduce hazardous situations that may result in a head injury. Therefore, the staff must stay alert and aware of the situations of their residents. Additionally, facilities must supervise the weaker residents. If a resident has certain diseases, such as dementia, additional resources may be necessary. Lastly, overmedication or undermedication neglect could result in a slip or fall.

If a significant fall occurs, the nursing home may need to dismiss the employee. If the employee remains, they need to hold them responsible for their actions or inaction.

When Your Family Member Suffers a Head Injury

First, take your relative to emergency care for evaluation and treat the any injury. Due their age, even a minor injury could result in significant pain and suffering. If your relative has declining health, they become even more susceptible to injury. If you need to discuss the injury with a lawyer, find a local experienced personal injury lawyer, such as the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. to discuss your options. Many attorneys will meet with your for a free consultation. If you desire a free consultation with our attorneys, call us today at 847-357-0403.

Generally, nursing homes do not provide specific rehabilitative therapies to address the needs of person with head brain injury. Regardless of if the brain injury occurs at the facility or not, you may need to find an outside care provider. Approximate 244,000 residents suffering from brain injuries in nursing homes without proper treatment. Luckily, some nursing homes put great efforts to get those residents with brain injuries into facilities that have the resources to care for them. Unfortunately, around 4 million people require long term care and the current brain injury facilities can only accommodate 40,000 patients.

Medicaid Rules

Medicaid is required to cover the cost of nursing home for long term care under the United States laws. The laws do not require the Medicaid to pay for specialized that those suffering from brain injuries need. Facilitates that can handle cases for brain injuries are not licensed as nursing homes which means that Medicaid would not cover the facilities for long term care. Nursing homes recognize that those with brain injuries should not be in restrictive areas therefore they refuse to take them. This leaves elderly who require nursing home care and have brain injuries to a severe disadvantage.

State Negligence Damage Cap Raised to $2 Million


The Illinois legislature overrode the veto of SB 2481 in November. The bill provided additional compensation to families of veterans who died of Legionnaires’ disease at the Quincy veterans home by raising the damage cap for tort actions against the State of Illinois. Since July of 2015, thirteen resident veterans at the Quincy Veterans Home died while under the care of the State of Illinois.  Under the previous law, the law set the damage cap at $100,000.

Governor Rauner’s Veto

Illinois set the the $100,000 cap, which tied for the lowest in the country, in 1972. The Illinois legislature voted to raise the cap to $2,000,000. Lawmakers proposed the bill after reports that the families of the Legionnaires’ victims could only collect $100,000. At the time, the Rauner administration denied negligence handling the outbreaks at the Quincy nursing home.

When Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the bill, he said that the bill ignored the impact of future litigation on the “fiscal position of the state and its taxpayers.” He argued that the damage cap should increase from $100,000 to $300,000.

[Read more…]

Negligence at Nursing Homes

You do not want to believe that your loved one may not receive the care you thought they would receive at their nursing home. Unfortunately, when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene, some nursing homes show signs of neglect. Nursing home neglect, unlike nursing home abuse, is a breach of duty that results in harm to the patient. If they fail to provide adequate care, your loved one may suffer from illness, injuries or distress. Some forms of neglect may include:

  • poor hygiene
  • poor sanitation
  • uncleanliness
  • medical neglect
  • neglect of basic needs

How Can I Identify Neglect at a Nursing Home?

All nursing homes must provide the basic necessity of keeping the facility clean and caring for the resident’s personal. Failure to do so can have detrimental health effects for both the staff and residents. Residents living in a negligent environment have higher risk of certain diseases, injury or illness. Neglect can also lead to serious injury or death.

While some neglect may be extremely obvious, you may not easily detect others. Physical signs may not always present themselves when negligence takes place. The best way to detect neglect remains to visit a close family member or loved one with frequent visits and notices. Even without neglect, your loved one will happily welcome you into their new home. Unfortunately, the elderly residents who don’t usually see their family may not know how to display their concerns.

Some signs of negligence may:

  • Malnutrition
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Bed sores
  • Injuries
  • Dehydration
  • Alterations in appeareacne or personal hygiene
  • Environmental hazards at the facility including unsafe furniture’s and wheelchairs, bad light and slippery floors.

What Should I Expect from a Nursing Home Facility?

All residents at nursing home facilities have the right to a clean and safe environment so they can live comfortably. Staff at the nursing home facilities should be held accountable if they fail to keep the facility clean and safe for the residents. Negligence in nursing homes should not go unreported as it creates high risk of danger for the residents. The facility needs to pay close attention to the environment created for the residents and their needs.

A facility should take necessary steps to prevent injuries to elderly residents. The facility must also make sure the staff is experienced and have the skills to provide adequate care for the elderly. Facilities that are understaffed may assign more responsibilities for the individual worker to insure the resident’s safety.

What Should I Expect from a Nursing Home Staff?

The staff at a nursing home has an incredibly hard job. They care about your loved ones and want them to have the best experience at the facility. However, staff may not have the required skills or the time to ensure that they meet all of your loved one’s needs. To ensure the staff knows what your expectations are, use this list of tips:

  • Ask for ongoing communications with the staff regarding the resident’s care.
  • Make sure that the staff can always assist with your loved one’s needs, especially mobility.
  • If you believe that your loved one may have a high risk of falling, ask for close supervision and for help in ensuring their safety.
  • Pay close attention to the environment and ensure that the staff quickly resolves any sanitary issues or safety concerns for the residents.
  • The staff should regularly monitory the seniors for changes in mobile or mental ability.
  • Ask for assementments for any developing medical concerns you or your loved one may have

Research indicates that residents at the nursing home facilities who are frequently visited by family, friends or loved ones are less likely to experience the nursing home abuse, neglect or emotional distress. However, the responsibility of all nursing home facilities is to provide adequate care for the residents.

Therefore, check in on your loved one. Make sure the nursing home facility they live in remainsa safe and healthy space for residents. They a comfortable environment and to avoid any kind of nursing home neglect.

Veterans in Nursing Homes

Many families of retired military members or veterans do not know all of the options available to them for senior care. Since May is National Military Appreciation Month, remember that your veteran deserves the best care. MedlinePlus.gov defines nursing homes as secure places for patients who don’t need to be hospitalized, but they can’t function at home, either. This applies to civilians or ex-military.

Nursing homes employ a vast range of medical specialists focused on everything from speech rehabilitation to occupational therapy. But the foundation on which these facilities rests on a mix of nursing aides, RNs, LPNs and orderlies. They work day to day for the care and well-being of patients.

[Read more…]

Dementia Treatments in Nursing Facilities

Many families delay moving a loved one into nursing care until their loved one requires more care. Dementia is a progressive brain disease and with time, the patients become able to remember and do less and less. Symptoms include:
  • memory loss,
  • becoming bedridden and/or wheelchair ridden and
  • loss of motor abilities.

As a result, not all families are able to care for their loved ones when they get to this state. When they can’t, they often decide to move their loved one into a maximum care nursing home.

[Read more…]

Should I Contact a Lawyer After a Nursing Home Fall?

nursing home fall

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 36% of hospital emergency room visits for long-term care residents are due to falls. The average assisted living facility accounts for 100 to 200 falls each year. Unfortunately, a nursing home fall can cause serious problems effecting the quality of life, disability, and reduced independence. Of course, as our population ages, the CDC estimates by 2030, nearly 3 million people will live in assisted living facilities.

About 20% of these falls can be prevented by improving controllable environmental factors. These factors include poor lighting, wet floors, and incorrect bed height. According to the CDC, only about 5% of seniors live in assisted living facilities, but they account for up to 20% of the deaths due to falls. But many times, the last nursing home fall was not the first fall. The CDC estimates that each elder citizen falls 2.6 times. In the end, about 1,800 senior citizen die each year from a fall.

[Read more…]

Is the Flu Evidence of Nursing Home Abuse?

Flu Vaccination Flu Ill Cold Vaccinate Syringe

Since the middle of December 2017, over 106 people have died from influenza. This makes this flu season the worst in recent times. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claims this infectious disease affects people in 46 states. Additionally, it has caused an increase of hospitalization of people over the age of fifty.

At this time, many health experts cannot explain why this season is so horrible. They also cannot predict when it will be over. The CDC warns that this flu season will be especially hard for those in long-term care and nursing homes. Even though this season is terrible, you may want to understand if evidence of the flu could mean nursing home abuse.

Definitions of Elder Abuse

Before a person can claim neglect or abuse, understand some general definitions associated with elder abuse. Elder abuse includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect.

A senior citizen has been physically abused when physical force has caused pain or injury. If a senior has suffered unwanted or nonconsensual contact with another person in a sexual nature, they may suffer from sexual abuse. If an abuser verbally attacks, humiliates, threatens, or harasses an elder victim, talk to a lawyer about the affects of emotional abuse. Financial exploitation happens when an abuser withholds or misuses the victim’s resources. Finally, neglect can be defined as when an abuser fails to provide necessary personal care items such as food, water, shelter, social interaction, medical care, etc. to the victim.

However, does an infectious disease fall into any of these categories? [Read more…]

Steps to Assessing Senior Home Safety

Steps to Assessing Senior Home SafetySenior Home Safety Tips


Assessing senior home safety is necessary to identify and eliminate safety risks. Seniors face a variety of safety risks in the home including falls, fires, security breaches, and unattended medical emergencies. If your loved one wants to age in peace independently, follow these tips to assess the safety of his or her home.


Prevention First


Senior home safety starts with prevention. Taking steps like installing safety grips and other bath aids in the bathroom and sturdy staircase rails can reduce the risk of falls in the home. Also, equip your loved one’s home with emergency preparedness supplies. Place a fire extinguisher and smoke detector in every room. Put important emergency contact information on the fridge, and sign up for a medical alert system if your loved one lives alone.


Everyday Living


Small changes to living areas can significantly increase senior home safety. Help your loved one be self-sufficient by organizing their home so that important everyday items are easily within reach. Store heavier items at waist level. Clearly mark things like hot water faucets and stove on and off switches. Make sure their home has sufficient lighting in the kitchen and bathroom to make cleaning and cooking easier.


Help With Healthy Living


Your loved one might also need help keeping track of medications, treatments and therapies, and important healthcare appointments. Clearly label and portion out medications. Create a simple calendar system to help them remember doctor’s visits. Schedule grocery deliveries, so your loved one always has fresh food at home. Small steps like these can make a significant difference in his or her ability to practice self-care.


Consider Home Adaptations


If your senior has a disability or a mobility problem, it might be time to consider in-home adaptations that are senior friendly. These can increase their overall safety in everyday situations and emergencies. Ramps leading to all entrances are relatively easy to install and can reduce the risk of falls. If your senior is wheelchair bound, consider widening doorways to make navigating the home easier. Adding stair lifts is essential for seniors in wheelchairs living in two-story homes. Another important consideration is the countertop height. Most homes are built with countertops too high for those in wheelchairs. Lowering countertops can help your senior take care of him or herself better.


Safety in Numbers


Senior home safety doesn’t stop at prevention. Make sure you or someone you trust regularly checks in on your loved one. Frequent visits are especially helpful if your loved one is reluctant to ask for help with simple, everyday tasks like cleaning and cooking.


Investing your time and resources in helping your senior live an independent life can be a rewarding challenge. But if your loved one is injured in an accident or a victim of nursing home abuse, it’s crucial to seek legal guidance. A skilled Arlington Heights personal injury attorney with experience handling Illinois nursing home abuse claims can help you identify any liable parties and take steps to seek the compensation your loved one deserves.


If you or a loved one has been injured and need help with an insurance claim, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.




Fall Prevention for Seniors: Safety Measures

Fall Prevention for Seniors: Safety MeasuresThe Risks of Falling


Falls cause more injuries to seniors than any other accident. Seniors can suffer from hip fractures, head injuries, and broken bones because of a fall. For these reasons, it’s important to educate yourself and your loved one on fall prevention to keep them safe.


Anything from vision problems to medication side effects can cause falls. But many falls can be prevented with a few safety measures designed to increase stability and support.


Start With Talking


A good place to start is having a talk with your loved one about fall prevention. Identify the most significant risks to falling your loved one faces so you can work to reduce them. Every senior’s needs are different, so discuss their fears and concerns.


For example, if he or she experiences periodic dizziness, work with a healthcare provider to address the problem. Or, if they are having vision problems, make sure they have a current prescription and are wearing the right glasses. If your loved one needs support when walking, sitting down, or getting up, they may benefit from physical therapy. A physical therapist can help your loved one work on his or her balance, gait, and overall strength, which can reduce or lessen the impact of falls.


Learn to Adapt


Adapt your loved one’s home for fall prevention. Steps like installing grab bars in the shower and secure railings on stairs can mitigate the risks of falling in the home. Make sure his or her home has good lighting and clear floors to lessen the chance of trips and stumbles. Consider working with an occupational therapist on this step, as they are trained to identify the barriers to safe and healthy living seniors face. Simple steps, like helping your senior around the house, can also reduce the risk of falling from normal activities like cleaning and cooking.


Take Preventative Action


Caring for your senior can be easy if you are aware of the risks he or she faces. Many seniors suffer injuries from even minor falls. Correcting what problems you can—like providing in-home adaptations—can help reduce the chance your senior will be injured. Also, make sure your senior is safe if he or she is in a nursing home. Nursing homes present many risks, and not all are prepared to protect every resident from falls and slips. And if your loved one is injured in a nursing home, speak with an experienced Arlington Heights area nursing home injury attorney who can help you get the help and compensation you need.


If you or a loved one has been injured, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

Preventing Harm: Safety Standards in Nursing Homes

Preventing Harm: Safety Standards in Nursing HomesNursing homes are supposed to keep our loved ones safe from harm. State and federal laws protect nursing home residents from abuse, neglect, unhygienic facilities, invasion of privacy, and other liberties. But many residents still suffer from harm at the hands of their caregivers, which requires we take a look at some of the most crucial safety standards in nursing homes.


Safety in Numbers


Illinois requires nursing homes provide 2.5 hours of nursing care per day for residents needing intermediate care. Residents needing skilled care must receive 3.8 hours of nursing care. These minimum requirements ensure the high quality of care residents deserve. An under-staffed facility might not meet these criteria, so keep these numbers in mind when looking at nursing homes for your loved one.


Unlimited Visitation


Nursing home facilities cannot place restrictions on when a resident can receive a visitor. Nursing home residents have the right to have visitors whenever they want. Unrestricted visitation, while not a safety regulation, can work to ensure the safety of residents as friends and family can check on their loved one whenever they want. Frequent visitation is another way to make sure your loved one is safe.


Care Planning


Nursing homes are also required to create comprehensive care plans for each resident within 14 days of admission. Care plans are essential to safety. They can help prevent medication errors, enforce the treatment the resident needs, and inform all staff of potential safety issues, such as mobility concerns or mental health diagnosis, for each resident.


Ensuring Your Loved One’s Safety


Illinois imposes many standards on nursing homes and assisted living facilities. These measures, however, aren’t always met. To ensure your loved one’s safety in a nursing home, visit frequently, talk to caregiving staff, and monitor the progress of the care plan. If you have any safety concerns or believe your loved one may have been harmed, contact an Arlington Heights nursing home abuse attorney. An attorney can explain the various regulations each facility must meet and help you explore your options for pursuing a claim if your loved one was harmed.




If your loved one has been harmed in a nursing home, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.



About the Firm

Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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