In January of last year, a developmentally disabled man died in the Graywood Foundation nursing home in Charleston, Illinois. An investigation showed that he suffered a terrible assault that resulted in his tragic death. The trial of one of his assailants finished in late April with the jury finding the nursing home employee, who admitted to pushing the victim, guilty of involuntary manslaughter rather than the first degree murder charge that was also brought against him. The maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter is 14 years, but he will most likely serve far less. Involuntary manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being unintentionally. After hearing the evidence, the jury must have felt the nursing home employee didn’t intend to cause the death of the resident. The trial against Marquis A. Harmon, the employee who has been accused of delivering the deadly blows, is still pending. The verdict has many Illinois residents understandably outraged. Nursing home abuse rarely makes front page news because it’s typically a much more insidious affair. Because nursing home abuse and neglect victims are residents who are often suffering from dementia, their testimony is typically dismissed as hallucination. Witnesses are also rare, making nursing home abuse cases notoriously difficult to prove.
Nursing home abuse is an epidemic in Illinois and around the world.
Rarely does it rise so visibly to the level of murder. Identifying nursing home abuse cases in nursing homes is difficult for family members. Fear of retaliation often keeps residents silent in the face of even the most severe forms of nursing home abuse. If you have a loved one in an Illinois nursing home, and you feel they may be the victim of nursing home abuse, it’s important that you document all of your suspicions with as much physical evidence as you can. Nursing homes are required to document any injury that a resident suffers and develop a plan to make certain that it doesn’t happen again. When this documentation is missing or incomplete, the likelihood that nursing home abuse is taking place grows.