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Michigan Nursing Home Denies Abuse Until Caught on Camera

Video footage

The family of an elderly man who was caught on camera being abused at a Detroit-area nursing home is suing the facility. Staff members at Autumnwood of Livonia are accused in the lawsuit of abusing now 89 year old Husein Younes, pushing him into his wheelchair, telling him to shut up, and insulting him. The lawsuit says the insults hurled at Mr. Younes were racial in nature, leading the family to believe the abuse was racially motivated. Mr. Younes is Lebanese American.

Hidden Camera Catches Abuse in Just 2 Days

In 2015, Mr. Younes’ son, Salim Younes, noticed his father was losing weight and had bumps and bruises all over his body. Mr. Younes also told his son that he was being mistreated. Immediately, Salim Younes  questioned Autumnwood staff, who brushed off his injuries as the result of multiple falls. Unsatisfied, Salim Younes installed a hidden camera in his father’s room. Within 2 days, the hidden camera footage revealed over 100 instances of abuse of Husein Younes, including verbal assaults and incredibly aggressive handling of him in and out of his wheelchair.

The family went to the nursing home about the abuse in December 2015, not mentioning the existence of the camera and video evidence. According to both the lawsuit and a statement released by Autumnwood, the allegations of abuse were investigated and no proof was found. Mr. Younes was removed from the facility. In May 2016, the family confronted the facility again, this time with a lawsuit and evidence of the abuse in the form of the hidden footage. After news of the case made the national news, Autumnwood of Livonia publicly responded, saying they had fired the employees in the video and had conducted training for existing staff.

Cameras in Illinois Nursing Homes

Video proof is clearly the best way to confront a nursing home over abuse or neglect of a loved one. Here in Illinois, cameras in nursing home rooms are legal, but there are a list of stipulations that must be met in order for them to be used.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. The camera must be visible to anyone entering the room
  2. Signs must be posted outside the resident’s room to notify visitors and staff that video recording is in progress
  3. A resident’s roommate, if applicable, must sign an Illinois Department of Health consent form that expressly agrees to allow video and sound recording (roommates have the option to object to the use of video and sound). This form also contains options for certain periods of time in which a roommate requires the camera be turned off.
  4. The resident and/or representative assumes all costs for installation, operation, and connectivity relating to the video camera

Announcing the use of a camera to all staff and visitors may be enough to deter future abuse, but not always. If a camera is a viable option, the mere existence of one could help protect your loved one. However, some offenders are unable to control their actions and may commit acts of abuse even knowing their actions are being recorded.

If you suspect abuse of a loved one in a nursing home, rehabilitation center, or other facility, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help. For nearly 3 decades, the elder rights attorneys of Levin & Perconti have successfully helped families like yours not only get answers, but obtain justice.  Contact us now for a free and confidential consultation.

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