Nursing home workers at the Stearns Nursing and Rehab Center in Granite City, Illinois, thought they were doing the right thing by reporting evidence of nursing home abuse to their supervisor. After all, at numerous workshops and staff meetings they had been told to report any evidence of abuse, no matter how small.
The two nursing home workers were standing at the Stearns Nursing and Rehab Center nurse station when they heard a certified nurse aide (CNA) calling one of the facility residents a foul word. Instead of investigating the incident, however, the administrator told them he could not conduct any investigation based on “hearsay.”
Hearsay a complicated legal term. One legal definition of hearsay is “A statement made out of court that is offered in court as evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.”If, for example, we meet on the L, and I tell you my wife wore a blue dress on New Year’s Eve, you could not testify that my wife actually wore a blue dress because you weren’t there. That would be hearsay evidence. You could, however, testify that I claimed that she wore a blue dress because you were witness to my claim.
If an insult was used in the presence of a resident, and another Stearns Nursing and Rehab Center staff member heard the insult, that could easily be considered evidence of verbal abuse. Unless there are more complicated circumstances than presented in the Illinois Department of Public Health Report (IDPH), the idea that hearsay played a role in the administrator’s decision to conduct no experiment is highly dubious.
The IDPH investigation revealed that the verbal abuse heard by the two CNAs at the desk was just one of several incidents. Another CNA witnessed the staff member who had verbally abuse the resident poking her forehead repeatedly. On multiple occasions, the resident was found with “half-dollar sized bruises” on her forehead. Although the woman was unable or unwilling to testify as to the person who was abusing her, she did admit that she was being hit.
On another occasion, the same resident was found to have a bruise extending from her wrist to her elbow. She couldn’t remember how it happened.
Most abusers in nursing homes begin by verbally abusing the residents in their care, but that is rarely where the nursing home abuse stops. Physical abuse almost always follows. That’s why nursing homes are required to take all allegations of abuse seriously. They need to separate the accused abuser from his or her potential victims and conduct an in depth investigation.
If you have a loved one in an Illinois nursing home who has developed bruises or cuts, know that you have the right to confront the nursing home administration for an explanation of each injury. It is their legal obligation to provide you with the results of every investigation for each injury.
When you visit your loved one in a nursing home, always be certain to conduct as complete an investigation into their physical health as you can. If you have a loved one you think is being abused in an Illinois nursing home, contact our Chicago nursing home lawyers for a free and confidential consultation. Our experienced nursing home lawyers know how to conduct a thorough investigation to uncover any abuse or neglect.