A wheelchair-bound Chicago, Illinois nursing home resident died after accidentally lighting himself on fire while smoking.
The 62 year-old resident of a Rogers Park nursing home was sitting at an outdoor patio around 8:50 a.m. when he lit his cigarette. He placed his lighter in his pocket and was smoking when his clothes ignited. The man and another resident tried extinguishing the fire, but it took a fire extinguisher to douse the blaze. The man, suffering first and second degree burns, was rushed to St. Francis Hospital in serious/critical condition. He was transferred to Loyola University Hospital, where he died around 4:56 p.m.
For their own safety, federal regulations require nursing homes to provide adequate supervision and assistance for nursing home residents who smoke. While we don’t know if this gentleman was provided with the appropriate supervision and assistance, we do know that the consequences of his accident cost him his life. If you have a loved one or friend in a nursing home who smokes or is facing nursing home placement, consider these questions:
- What are the facility’s smoking policies? What type of assistance/supervision is provided? If a resident refuses to comply with smoking policies, what are the repercussions?
- Are there designated smoking areas with ashtrays and smoking aprons? Are fire extinguishers located close by and is facility staff properly trained to use same?
- Are cigarettes, lighters, and other smoking devices accessible by the staff only? If not, where is the smoking paraphernlia stored?
- What is the proper procedure to call for help in case of fire? Is there a call system located outside?
- Is the facility equipped with sprinklers and fire detectors?
- Are fire evacuation procedures clearly posted? • Is there a “no smoking indoors” policy strictly enforced by the staff?
- Are residents in smoking areas supervised by facility staff?
Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer David Terry has over seventeen years experience in assisting and protecting vulnerable nursing home residents. If you or a loved one has experienced abuse or neglect at the hands of nursing home staff or residents, contact David Terry at 1-888-317-2525 to discuss your options. The initial consultation is free and there is no obligation to you.