When we turn the care of a loved one over to a nursing home or other long-term care facility, we expect our loved one to be protected from harm, whether caused by others or to themselves. Unfortunately, the rate of depression among elderly adults in nursing homes is high compared to the general population. In addition, depression is higher among elderly adults in long-term care facilities than those who are able to live independently.
In July 2010, a 51-year-old woman was found in her bathtub, with the water still running. Although she was rushed to the hospital, medical staff was unable to revive her. An autopsy was performed, which concluded the woman's death was caused by drowning, but was inconclusive as to the reasons for the death. The death was later determined to be a suicide.
After the apparent suicide, the woman's daughter filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home, under whose care the woman had been placed. The lawsuit alleged that the woman had expressed suicidal ideations to nursing home staff in the past. According to the suit, the nursing home failed to take appropriate action thereafter, specifically by neglecting to monitor the woman properly to ensure her safety.
Sadly, depression among nursing home residents is not uncommon. According to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation, approximately half of all nursing home residents suffer from depression.
For family members who have lost a loved one due to negligent nursing home staff, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can ensure their rights are protected.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Daughter may get 67K in drowning at West Rogers Park nursing home," Naomi Nix, July 17, 2012.