There are many ways a nursing home resident can come to the end of his or her life while in the care of a facility. Murder is rarely the case, but an example in Illinois shows that two men with aggressive behavior toward one another were not monitored closely enough and got in a fight that left one of the residents dead.
An 80-year-old dementia patient at an Oak Park, Ill., nursing home was beaten to death in February by a fellow resident 14 years his junior. Recently released documents from the Illinois Department of Public Health show that despite evidence of aggressive behavior from both men, nothing was written in the patients’ treatment plan to show how to handle the men.
The victim’s family filed a lawsuit against Oak Park Medical Center for wrongful death for failing to supervise a patient that posed an immediate threat to Anibal Calderon. The OPMC’s parent company agreed to correct deficiencies outlined by the IDPH report but has not accepted responsibility for the attack, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The family claims in the lawsuit that Oak Park Healthcare Center broke state and federal nursing home rules and did not protect their patient from neglect and abuse, according to the Sun-Times. The suit also claims that the business failed to hire adequate staffing to sufficiently monitor its patients. Finally, the suit claims the facility did not report suspicious behavior and ignored complaints about residents.
The case at Oak Park shines a light on a broader issue about how many nurses are needed to care for the residents and how many of those nurses need to be trained registered nurses as opposed to certified nursing assistants or licensed practical nurses. A 2010 nursing home reform law mandates increased staffing.
The challenge, predictably, is that RNs are more experienced and demand higher salaries. More RNs means less revenue. Illinois state government officials are working this spring to push for more RNs who should be better equipped to ascertain changes in patient behavior like that of the man who is accused of killing Anibal Calderon.
The new Illinois laws require more than an hour more per day per resident of nursing and personal care in the next two years.