Nursing Home Resident Physically Harmed by CNA in Freeport

Freeport Police arrested a former certified nursing assistant (CNA) at an Illinois nursing home in Stephenson County after being accused of attacking an elderly resident earlier this year. The 34-year-old aid with a history of being employed by nursing homes is charged with official misconduct and aggravated battery to a senior citizen.

Detectives say the worker, identified as James Spann, put the 73-year-old resident in a chokehold and a headlock while working at Walnut Acres. Walnut Acres is formerly known as the Stephenson County Nursing Center, located at 2946 S. Walnut Rd. in Freeport.

Ultimately, physical violence, assault, and battery such as a chokehold and headlock are never acceptable forms of restraint even against a combative and aggressive resident. In Illinois, an individual may be charged with and found guilty of aggravated battery if he or she commits a battery (other than by the discharge of a firearm), and knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to another individual in the course of the battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05).

Although the incident happened on April 6th, it took administrators nearly ten days to report it to police and then to the state who first led the investigation before handing it back over to police detectives. It’s unknown at this time if Spann has a history of this type of behavior.

More About Illinois’ Healthcare Worker Registry and Background Check History 

Working hand-in-hand with Illinois Health Care Worker Background Check Act (225 ILCS 46), the Health Care Worker Registry lists individuals with a background check conducted and shows training information for CNAs and other health care workers.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, to work as a CNA in a state licensed long-term care facility, the worker must first meet the following requirements:

  1. Have a criminal history records check as prescribed by the Health Care Worker Background Check Act with no disqualifying convictions.
  2. If an individual has disqualifying convictions, he or she may not work as a CNA (or in any other position that has access to the residents, the residents’ living quarters, or the residents’ financial, medical or personal records) unless the individual has requested and received a waiver of those disqualifying convictions.
  3. Have no administrative finding of abuse, neglect or misappropriated property in Illinois or any other state.
  4. Must be at least 16 years of age, of temperate habits and good moral character, honest, reliable and trustworthy.
  5. Must be able to speak and understand English or a language understood by a substantial percentage of a facility’s residents.
  6. Must provide evidence of prior employment or occupation, if any, and residence for two years prior to present employment as a nursing assistant.
  7. Must have completed at least eight years of grade school or provide proof of equivalent knowledge.
  8. Must not work as an Illinois CNA until the registry shows that the individual has met the training requirements.

In addition to state requirements, there is a separate list of standards to meet for those choosing to work as an Illinois CNA in a federally certified long-term care facility.

Abuse, Assault and Misconduct Allegations Require Legal Help 

Levin & Perconti is a nationally renowned law firm concentrating in all types of nursing home abuse and neglect, personal injury, and wrongful death litigation throughout Illinois. Our lawyers are committed to vindicating the rights of people who are injured by the misconduct of others. We also hold nursing homes accountable when hiring staff without an appropriate level of background checks or those with a history of violence against residents or other individuals.

Contact our Chicago firm at (312) 332-2872 or by completing our online case evaluation form. We are not paid unless we recover money for you, so please, reach out for a free consultation so we can help you.

Also read: Nursing Homes Are Not Reporting Abuse