While having a loved one in hospice care can be a tragic and unfortunate situation for people involved, it can also put them at ease to know that they are in the hands of medical professionals. These weeks or months in hospice are some of the most cherished moments for the patient and their family members, and every party involved deserves the utmost respect and highest standard of care to know that their loved one is in good hands.
However, sometimes these professionals do not follow the appropriate procedure of care and end up abusing or neglecting these hospice patients. This abuse or neglect can take many different forms, which will be discussed later. In addition to hurting the patient emotionally and perhaps physically, this phenomenon can cause family members anxiety and years of anguish.
The personal injury lawyers at Mike Agruss Law have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to hospice abuse or neglect, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Types of Hospice Abuse and Neglect
Medical professionals can fail to properly care for their patients in a number of ways. In any case, though, their actions hurt each person associated with the patient as well as the patient themselves. Some forms of hospice care that can take place include:
- Negligence – If a doctor or nurse makes a careless mistake and causes injury to the patient, you may be able to sue them for negligence. You should be able to show that the injury was directly caused by the hospice’s breach of their duty of care owed to the patient. Negligence can be due to their action or inaction.
- Abuse – Unfortunately, some doctors and nurses can go as far as abusing the patient due to their weak and disadvantaged condition. This could be physical abuse, neglect, or financial abuse.
- Breach of contract – Oftentimes, a hospice patient or their family member must sign a contract as they enter hospice. This contract states the services that they agree to pay. When these services are not fulfilled, they would be breaching the contract and the family can be compensated for the damages.
- Malpractice – Medical malpractice claims are similar to negligence, but more specific. A malpractice claim alleges that the medical professional did not act with the level of care that another reasonable medical professional would have in the situation.
- Wrongful death – A hospice can be sued for a wrongful death claim if the death occurred due to the staff’s negligence, carelessness, or malpractice.
Examples of Hospice Abuse and Neglect
- Administering the incorrect medicine, intentionally or unintentionally.
- Providing the incorrect services or not providing certain services at all per contract to the patient.
- Inflating the price of the services provided in the contract.
- Lack of proper training for hospice staff.
- Physically or sexually assaulting the patient.
- Failure to appropriately respond to the needs of the patient.
Who Can File the Claim?
In the event that the patient unfortunately passes away in the midst of filing a claim, Illinois has a law that allows the executor or administer of the deceased patient continue the lawsuit in their place. This law is called the Illinois’ Survival Act. Whatever the damages are, you can assume responsibility for claiming that compensation in place of your loved one.
In another case where a patient dies from neglect or medical malpractice, you may be able to sue the hospice and staff for a wrongful death under Illinois’ Wrongful Death Law. This claim would include damages that you and your loved ones incurred rather than the deceased.
It is important to evaluate these claims on a case by case basis. If you are unsure about what action to take, speak to one of our attorneys rather than keeping this abuse and neglect a secret. Hospice patients deserve the highest degree of care and respect. When this standard is not upheld, they should be stopped before they can do so to the next patient.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
Hospice abuse or neglect can cause years of trauma to the loved of the deceased individual. The family could pursue their own legal action and claim the damages for this. Or, if the hospice patient is able to file a claim while they still can, they can claim damages for the injuries that the medical professionals have caused. It is important that the type of injury and the type of claim that is filed varies in what you are able to do and how you can handle the situation. To get a definite answer, speak to one of our attorneys today to sort out your options. Some common damages in these cases can include the following:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Future loss of earnings
- Funeral and burial costs
- Punitive damages
If you or a loved one has been injured due to hospice neglect and/or abuse, contact our office today for a free consultation.
I understand if my mom was to pass away due to her medical condition but this was all caused by pure negligence! I had to call 911 last night to get my mom from her assisted living facility to the ER. She is septic, severely dehydrated, CT scan showed that her right lung collapsed her blood glucose was over 660 (so high that the glucose monitor could not give an actual number and the nurse said it can read up to 660 so she was over 660). I went to visit her after work and she was in really bad shape. I found her laying in the same soaked shirt she had been in for the last couple of days. She smelled really bad and her breath smelled really bad. She looked very uncomfortable and she was having trouble breathing. She was sweating profusely. Her breathing was labored and she kept making gargling noises. I happened to touch my mom\'s cheek and it was tender and swollen. She screamed out in pain. I opened her mouth and it was disgusting and smells very foul! I pressed the call button for the nurse. I called the hospice nurse. Nobody was doing anything. She kept making gurgling sounds. Her fingers started turning purple. Her oxygen was very low between 80 and 81. I took her dentures out to clean her mouth and they were filthy. I cleaned her mouth with lots of sponges. There were pcs of food in her mouth and she hadn\'t taken anything by mouth in at least 3 or 4 days! She gets fed through a g tube. She was in really bad shape. This was caused by her being neglected for the past 4 days. The assisted living facility would not check on her. Her glucose got so high, it wouldnt register on the glucose monitor meaning it was at 660 or above. We put her in hospice care bc they told us she would be looked after. That she would receive 3 baths per week and that extra attention would be paid to her from head to toe. And that she had morphine as needed. My mom only speaks spanish and none of the Accent Care hospice speak spanish. Only 1 dose of morphine was ever administered and thats because my sisters adamantly requested it. My mom suffered a brain aneurysm on 2/2/23. I\'m her POA. She has needed around the clock care since then. We have her in assisted living. On 10/6/23 we put her in hospice. In the 2 weeks she\'s been in hospice her health has plummeted. Accent Care Hospice told us our mother would have extra care and more attention if we put her on hospice. She has been so neglected that and she has declined so much. I had no choice but to bring her to the ER last night. All of her symptoms were caused by neglect from accent care hospice and avantara Aurora. Now she is in the ER with IVs and tubes all over. They were so close to intubating her because of her collapsed lung but she hung in there and they\'re holding off on the ventilator for now. She is hooked up to a crash cart which is obviously a bad sign. All of this could have been prevented if Accent Care Hospice would have paid her the attention they said they were going to give her. Since my mom has been sick since February, my siblings and I exhausted our time of work and we were relying on hospice to keep her comfortable. Now I am full of regret! She declined so much these past 2 weeks that she has been on hospice. As soon as she was labeled hospice, she was left alone to die. And she still might. Her blood pressure is still super low and her oxygen is right between needing intubation and holding on. It\'s all touch and go! AccentCare painted us such a pretty picture when they described the care she would receive. We trusted them. And they might have just ended my mother\'s life. She is still in the ER waiting to be taken to ICU.
When my dad went to the nursing home for 2 years he was in hospice care for some reason August of 2023 they took him off a hospice but he was still able to talk and walk around. But now the nursing care was supposed to give him the proper medication for a diabetic. And we paid more money for that extra care. But they did not check his sugar level for about 2 weeks maybe more and he passed away from my diabetic stroke let me know if you can help me Sue the nursing home or hospice
We have filed a complaint with the IDHS against Alden of Barrington and Family Home Health Network of Addison for neglecting both patient and family during hospice care. Our father was a patient of Alden due to non treatable cancer and recovery from stroke, and our family requested a care plan meeting numerous times and after 2 months as a resident, we finally scheduled a care plan meeting. Alden suggested hospice care on 6/19. On 6/20 a representative from Family Home Health called our family and sold us into the idea hospice was an extra set of hands and support for the patient (non verbal) and family. That same representative came to our POA house on 6/22 at which we were told we would have a care plan meeting to follow.
Saturday 6/24, our mother (not the POA) received a call from Hospice nurse that he was still very strong and since he was still on antibiotics they wanted to wait to put him on hospice.
Monday 6/26, our dad pulled part of his tumor off his face and began to bleed. I (the POA) was called by Alden nurses and instructed them to send him to the hospital should the bleed continue. They called back and said they were going to approve him for hospice care.
Hospice nurse called 6/27 to review meds, and received approval to stop 2 medications for thyroid management.
Family visited everyday, and first interaction with a nurse from hospice was on 7/5 when a nurse walked in an said she didnt have him on the schedule for that day but no one had seen him over the holiday weekend and she wanted her eyes on him. We requested a call to review care plan, and instructed her to elevate his arm and put him in a wheelchair every other day at 11am. Family went everyday and inquired status and was told if we didn’t hear from hospice, no news was good news.
7/3 we were informed his roommate had tested positive for COVID by the staff at Alden and that our dad needed to be moved immediately. For 7 days after that, the staff wore extra protection while in his room but did not try to move his room and never provided us results of his COVID tests. Again we were told no news is good news.
On 7/12, our mother received a call from the Chaplain inquiring if we received an update on our dads status which she said was not good as they could not wake him for an entire day. My mother then called Alden and was put in touch with his hospice nurse who informed her our dad had hours to days left. We had received no updates, and this was the first we heard. We went straight to Alden and for 1.5 days we sat with our dad during visiting hours as we were never told we could stay with him longer. We called for the hospice nurse numerous times and were told she was on her way, and for the 1.5 days we never encountered her at the facility and did not receive any update calls on his status during this time. We were also informed the medications were not stopped when they had been provided authorization. However on 7/12, all feedings and medications were stopped without prior authorization. Our dad then passed on 7/13 at 11:50pm by himself and my mother received the call at 12:30am 7/14 (after numerous requests for the POA, myself to be first call). We arrived at Alden at 1:15am and entered his room alone, his roommate awake with the TV on, my dad still had tubes connected, eyes and mouth wide open. My sister was able to take off his bandages which were covered in blood which leads us to believe he was bleeding without our knowledge for the 2 weeks on hospice. We left Alden with no interaction from staff, and had to call hospice on our way home who asked us if she needed to come there. We had left but were informed the funeral home was called at 2:30am.
We never heard from the hospice company or Alden again until we reached out after my dads services to express our concern for their lack of care.
Our main concerns:
(1) we were not given choices for hospice, only 1 company was offered to us. We were unaware we had options until Alden informed us after
(2) we received a list of services to be provided by hospice and did not receive any level of care expected. We feel they neglected our father and neglected our family
(3) Alden and Hospice continually reached out to our mother who was not the POA after numerous requests. They didn’t ask for the POA until 7/11 and he became a resident there on 4/25.
My mother passed away at a nursing facility that we had many issues with. One was about a year ago my mother called stating that a nurse was “throwing her around” which was actually confirmed because they stated “they fired the travel cna that did this to my mother”. My mother stated she was not getting the pain medicine that she was suppose to get for pain and she constantly complained about being in pain. Then at the end of life the past week she had pneamonia that we were not told about until hospice contacted us and stated that my mom was transitioning. Then yesterday when my mom passed the Hospice nurse arrived and witnessed my mother in active dieing and she got the nurse who did not know of her condition, so they never checked on her. Food laying out from breakfast and lunch. The Hispanics nurse provided the correct medication for my mom to peacefully pass away. I rushed up there and it was too late. No one from the nursing home called us the tell us she had passed and we walked into her unclosed room to find her deceased. It was completely dispicable. I could only imagine what else transpired.
The hospice agency aided my sister in obtaining a surrogate representation over my best friend, my 99 year old Gma despite my father and I being named as power of attorneys . My father was ill and I had no idea this was happening until it was too late . Ultimately She was injured and was refused medical treatment. Gma and I were intentionally alienated from each other regarding medical care. My grandma didn’t deserve to have her rights stripped away and neither did I. I understand it’s a complex case but if you think you could help with any thing please reach out . Thank you on behalf of Eldora and myself , Shelby aka
Grandma’s Girl :(:(
3 years ago
Hi Krystal. The statute of limitations depends on the state in which the abuse/neglect occurred in. I would like to discuss this with you and we can review your case in a no-obligation, free consultation. Please contact me at 312-224-4695 or [email protected]
. Thanks, Mike
3 years ago
Hello Shannon. I am so sorry to hear about what is going on with your boyfriend. I would be happy to discuss this with you and see what I can do to help. I will reach out to you. Thanks, Mike
Need help for my boyfriend. Hospice is denying an IV for liquids and dehydrating him to death. Patient has a will to live. Family has chosen that no more care is needed and they don’t want him to live because he will have a disability.
What is the statute of limitations for filing hospice abuse/neglect? I had a traumatic experience last July(2019) still affecting me to this day...My Grandmother ended up passing. I’ll explain further if/when needed. I am not the executor, but was closest member taking care of her and in all Hippa docs. Also have photos and witnesses