Sedated Man Dies after Fall

Just eight hours after moving into the Pekin Living and Rehab Center, a man was approached by four employees who injected him with a high amount of the antipsychotic drug Haldol. According to state records this quickly sedated him, and he fell in his room several hours later. The fall hurt his head and he died at the hospital. The employee was not licensed as a nurse and did not have a doctor’s order to give the man medication. The death shows the reality that heavily drugged residents are oftentimes falling and suffering injuries in nursing homes. Inspectors have documented hundreds of instances of residents falling while on psychotropic drugs since 2001, yet the authorities have done little to address the issue. The man was admitted to Pekin Living and Rehab Center with a history of diabetes and breathing issues, but no records indicate that he was psychotic. After being given the drug the man’s pulse fell to 48. Six hours later he fell and struck his head on a fan. He died two days later of breeding in the brain. Tazewell County’s coroner ruled the death a homicide. The Illinois Department of Public Health fined the facility $55,000 and the nursing home fired the person who injected the dug. To read more about the wrongful death, please click the link.

Westmont Nursing and Rehab Center Faces Allegations of Abuse

CBS has reported that there have been allegations of nursing home neglect and unexplained injuries to residents at Westmont Nursing Home & Rehab Center. Additionally, a former nursing home worker has stated that these allegations are true. This employee was fired despite her good work record. She believes that she was complaining about the great amount of nursing home negligence. One woman is worried that that her mother and other residents are not being properly taken care of. She has witnessed residents in wheelchairs while their alarms were being sounded and saw no employees coming to their aid. Another resident took pictures of bruises that he found on his 90-year-old mother. The bruises were up and down her arms, and on her shoulders and legs. When he questioned the staff they simply replied that they didn’t know what happened. Some residents are having trouble eating and enduring cold showers. Currently the Illinois State Department of Public Health has investigated 31 allegations against the Westmont Nursing Home & Rehab Center. To read more about the nursing home negligence, please click the link.

Compromised Care: Psychotropic Drugs are being given to Nursing home Patients Without Cause

A Chicago Tribune investigation has found that frail and vulnerable residents of nursing homes throughout Illinois are being given with powerful psychotropic drugs which lead to tremors, dangerous lethargy and a high risk of harmful falls or even death. Many of these elderly and disabled people have been drugged without their consent or without a legitimate psychiatric diagnosis that would justify this sort of treatment. One 74-year-old man was in a nursing home near Peoria for less than a day before staff members held him down and injected him with a large amount of antipsychotic drug. He fell a few hours later and suffered a fatal head injury. One woman was given a psychotropic drug partly because she refused to wear a bra. The Tribune investigation revealed that there were 1,200 violations at Illinois nursing homes that involved psychotropic drugs. The FDA has previously released information that thousands of nursing home residents die each year because antipsychotic drugs are administered to patients who are not mentally ill. Illinois nursing home residents are placed on antipsychotic medications for such reasons as “restlessness, anxiety or confusion.” It appears that by placing residents on this medication it makes the residents easier to care for. Yet, common side effects include severe lethargy, permanent involuntary muscle movements, seizures and sudden death. Heritage Nursing Home in Chicago was investigated and found to have tried giving an antipsychotic drug to a refusing patient. Finally, a nurse gave the patient, one without any history of heart troubles, the drug without telling him. At Heartland Health Care Center in Moline an 83-year-old woman was placed on Hadol without any diagnosis of mental illness. To read more about the psychotropic drugs, please click the link.

Nursing Home Doctors receive no Reprimand even as Facilities are Cited

Delores Fleming’s relatives placed her in Heritage Manor Nursing Home after her Alzheimer’s heightened. Although they had hoped to continue caring for their mother in her same two-story home, it became apparent that more skilled care was necessary. When she entered Heritage Manor near Decatur, Illinois she scored 23 out of a 30 on a mental exam and was deemed to be “moderately impaired.” However, after a few crying spells and wandering incidents, her doctor prescribed two antipsychotic drugs, despite the fact that she was not psychotic. The doctor doubled the dosage four times, which put the 76-year-old woman above her recommended limit. The Fleming family called in a neurologist, who found the victim glassy-eyed and catatonic. She was now scoring a zero on the mental exam. State regulators then cited the nursing home, Heritage Manor of Mount Zion, for the misuse of psychotropic drugs. Yet, the doctor who was primarily responsible for the victim’s medication emerged with no citations, no penalties and a spotless public record. This, unfortunately, is not a rare occurrence. A Chicago Tribune investigation found numerous instances in which regulators cited the nursing home facilities for misusing psychotropics even though the patients’ doctors had created the problems. Therefore the physician’s are not being fined for their nursing home negligence; no matter high they prescribe the medicine. In one case, a woman at the Fondulac Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in East Peoria grew weak and eventually died from the antipsychotic drug she was placed on. Some believe this problem results from the lack of familiarity between a doctor and his nursing home patient. Oftentimes doctors do not make enough time to visit with their patients. This lack of inattentiveness and willingness to place elderly people on strong medications has led to great numbers of nursing home negligence. To read more about the chemical restraints, please click the link.

Adult Foster Care Home Faces Serious Allegations of Elder Abuse

An adult foster care home is facing serious allegations of nursing home abuse and is now looking at a revoked license. One resident told an investigator that she had been locked in the attic of the adult care facility and beaten. She then escaped in the middle of the night and told the police about her elder abuse. Also, reports show that the residents were not treated with dignity when they needed their diapers changed. State officials are set to review the DHS report and decide what disciplinary action to take in regards to the elder abuse. To read more about the nursing home abuse, please click the link.

One State Rules for Plaintiff in Nursing Home Arbitration Case

The son of a nursing home resident who was injured because of nursing home negligence supposedly was unable to have a trial because he signed a nursing home arbitration clause. However, the state’s supreme court found that since the son did not have the authority to sign a voluntary arbitration agreement on her behalf, thus he was not bound by such an agreement. The court found that since the son only had the authority to sign documents required for admission, that the arbitration agreement was not a mandatory requirement for admission. This decision could have implications for other nursing homes that allow surrogates to sign admission materials. Binding nursing home arbitration clauses limit a victim’s right to a trial after nursing home negligence. To read more about the arbitration clause, please click the link.

State Senators Hear of Nursing Home Bias

After rising concerns about the treatment of Illinois nursing home residents, the Illinois Senate’s public health committee met today to discuss racial disparities in quality and care. The hearing stemmed from an investigation by the Chicago Reporter magazine that identified inequities between nursing homes where the majority of residents are black and homes where a majority of residents are white. The nursing home article featured testimony from a Levin & Perconti client. Illinois has the highest number of poorly rated nursing homes nationwide. Chicago has even more disparities, where the lowest rating was given to nearly 60 percent of the 30 black nursing homes. On the other side of the spectrum, 11 percent of the city’s 45 white homes received the lowest rating. Also, black nursing homes averaged more violations than white homes. The Chicago Reporter article also found that residents at black facilities received less care from highly trained staff than their white counterparts. A law professor testified that the Midwest has the highest degree of racial segregation among its nursing homes. Chicago is ranked sixth out of the 10 metropolitan areas with the most racially segregated nursing home populations. To read more about the hearing, please click the link.

Trial Date Set in Elder Neglect Case

A woman who has been accused of elder neglect in the death of her mother briefly appeared in Illinois court. The 53-year-old woman was charged with criminal neglect of an elderly person. The 89-year-old victim died with bedsores and other health problems. Her autopsy revealed that she had nor received proper care and was a victim of elder neglect. To read more about the elder neglect case, please click the link.

Family Holds Nursing Home Accountable for Choking of Their Elderly Relative

The family of a 77 year-old woman who was choked and beaten by a complete stranger is not just placing the blame on the 25-year-old attacker. They also believe that the nursing home in which this attack occurred should be held accountable. The family is stating that there was nursing home negligence when the nursing home did not come to rescue her after she was choked and beaten. The family spoke to Kens 5 about their nursing home lawsuit. The incident occurred at 4 in the morning and the family cannot fathom how an intruder was able to enter the nursing home. The attacker is charged with the first degree felony of injury to an elderly person. Police reported that the attacker was able to walk through an ajar door and was not even discovered until police mandated that the rooms be checked for elderly abuse victims. To read more about the nursing home abuse, please click the link.

Center for Medicare Reins in Overpayments to Skilled Nursing Facilities

For many years, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has reported that the Medicare program overpays skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) for rehabilitation services and underpays SNFs for certain residents needing specialized services and skilled nursing care. Significant changes will be made to Medicare payment policy and rein in wasteful spending and overpayments. Many times SNFs are paid for services they do not provide. Additionally, the programs were supposed to be budget neutral, but SNFs placed more residents in the highest assessment categories which resulted in overpayments. To read more about the overpayment, please visit the center for Medicare advocacy’s website.

Nursing Home agrees to pay $1.375 Million in Nursing Home Settlement

A nursing home will pay $1.275 million to resolve charges of taking kickbacks from a supplier. The Justice department accused the nursing home of taking kickbacks from a corporation in exchange for the nursing home buying medical equipment from them. The Justice department is investigating similar conduct in many other US states. This current case was one that was broken by a whistleblower. Hopefully this nursing home settlement will help decrease the amount of nursing home fraud. To read more about the nursing home settlement, please click the link.

Senators Introduce New Elder Abuse Bill

Several US Senators introduced the Elder Abuse Victims Act to improve enforcement of elder abuse. The bill is a companion to the Elder Abuse Victims Act which the House passed earlier this year. It would create federal grants for states and localities to establish elder justice positions or units and would provide support for prosecutorial training on elder-abuse laws. The legislation also would provide funding for elder abuse victim’s advocacy groups. The new bill would require the Department of Justice to establish more uniform procedures to improve the handling of elder justice matters. The bill complements the Elder Justice Act and the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act. Please contact your local senator and voice your support for the Elder Abuse Victims Act. To read more about the elder abuse legislation, please click the link.

Illinois Task Force Hears Concern about Mentally Ill in Facilities

Social workers, residents and advocates filled a hearing room to demand that Illinois stop using nursing homes to house younger adults with mental illness, including felons who police say assaulted, raped and even killed elderly and disabled housemates. The panel members heard a cascade of criticism and questions about the state’s decades-long pattern of channeling younger, mentally ill felons into facilitates that house geriatric and disabled residents. Illinois needs to stop institutionalizing people in nursing homes who are only there because of a mental illness. Currently Illinois houses about 15,000 people whose primary diagnosis is a mental illness. It is estimated that roughly 10,000 mentally ill residents could be moved into less institutional settings within five years if the state moved numbers around in the budget. Under Illinois law, all incoming nursing home residents are given a criminal background check and assessed for the risk they pose to other residents if felonies are discovered. However, these screenings can take too long and residents are at risk for nursing home abuse in the meantime. To read more about the nursing home hearing, please click the link.

Man Files Lawsuit against Burnham Healthcare Properties

A man has sued a Burnham nursing home for allegedly failing to treat his injuries after he was physically kicked out of his wheelchair by another resident. The nursing home abuse lawsuit claims that the man was “kicked by another resident and knocked out of his wheelchair,” which caused him to fracture his leg. The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court and states that Burnham Healthcare Properties is liable for supervising its residents and failing to treat Gales’ injuries from the incident in a timely manner. The nursing home lawsuit alleges the nursing home knew of the violent tendencies of the resident and that he had a history of violence with other residents.

To visit the Illinois Department of Health’s overview of Burnham, please click the link.

To read more about the nursing home abuse lawsuit, please click the link.

Illinois Task Force Sets Hearing

Governor Quinn’s new Nursing Home Safety Task Force will hear testimony from elder care advocates, service providers and residents in an open, public meeting. It also announced a Web site that takes citizens’ comments and recommendations. Task Force leader Michael Gelder stated, “All of us have a role to play in ensuring the safety and well-being of nursing home residents, and we urge the public to join us in this critical work.” He added that all of Illinois will be needed to meet this challenge. The task force was formed in response to a Chicago Tribune expose which found that elderly and disabled nursing home residents were allegedly assaulted, raped and even killed by mentally ill criminals also living in the facility. Illinois relies on nursing homes to house psychiatric patients more than any other state. Hopefully the new task force will help resolve the problem and decrease the nursing home abuse. To read more about the hearing meeting, please click the link.

Nursing Home Faces Wrongful-death Lawsuit

A nursing home was named in a $32.5 million wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of a deceased woman. The administrator of her estate is suing both the nursing home and the former nursing home administrator. The woman, who had been in the care of the nursing home, was admitted to a hospital shortly before her death with multiple infected sores on her body. The nursing home negligence lawsuit claims that a sore on her left ankle became infected and grew deep enough to expose bone. Complications from the wound are believed to have caused her wrongful death. The lawsuit also alleges that the victim’s family was never told about the infected sore or other lesions that formed. The woman had a high risk for pressure ulcers and the nursing home was supposed to reposition her every two hours. This is the third nursing home abuse lawsuit filed against the nursing home in a year. One of the other lawsuits involved bed sores as well. To read more about the nursing home negligence lawsuit, please click the link.

Family of Nursing Home Resident Sues Home over Death

The family of a man who died in April has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit claiming that negligent medical care at his nursing home resulted in his death. The lawsuit alleges that the victim gained 40 pounds in the month before his death and had a history of fluid retention and heart attacks. On April 10, 2008, the victim was swollen and his caregivers left a message for his primary care physician. The nursing home negligence lawsuit also alleges that the victim was left alone for 17 hours while his condition worsened, and that he was given a nitroglycerine tablet after complaining of chest pains but his condition was not monitored. Residents in nursing homes should be closely monitored pursuant to their specific needs. To read more about the nursing home negligence, please click the link.

Nursing Home Cited after Elderly Man’s Genitals Disintegrate

A nursing home is facing a nursing home negligence lawsuit after an elderly resident’s genitals disintegrated while nursing home staff failed to act. The 93-year-old man arrived at the nursing home suffering from maladies of old age. Court documents show that the nursing home left a wound on the elderly man untreated for months. The nursing home negligence lawsuit claims that the injury festered and worsened for months. Allegedly the nursing home staff noticed that the skin was breaking down, but the manager failed to notify the doctor. Instead, the staff manager left to go on vacation and ‘forgot’ to tell the doctor. The nursing home was cited for failure to take action. To read more about the nursing home negligence, please click the link.

Hearing for Man Accused of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Home

A man accused of sexual abuse on an elderly patient at a nursing home was in court recently on sexual battery charges. A witness told police she heard something from one of the rooms, and when she went in she say the employee engaged in a sexual activity with a disabled woman in the room. The witness immediately tried to call the police and the employee tried to stop her. He now faces charges of sexual battery of both the mentally impaired and physically helpless. Sexual abuse is a common form of nursing home abuse. To read more about the sexual abuse, please click the link.

Call your Senator to Support Nursing Home Legislation

Recently the Senate Finance Committee passed a health care reform bill that contains the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act, the Elder Justice Act, and the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act are all in the massive Finance Committee bill. The nursing home transparency and criminal background checks are also in the House health reform bill, HR 3200. However, the bill still must be passed, thus support is still needed. The nursing home transparency, elder justice and background checks must not be weakened by amendments. Therefore, contact your senator and show your support for the nursing home legislation. Tell them that you are an advocate in your state for those who receive nursing home care. To read more about the nursing home legislation, visit the NCCNHR webpage.

Inspection Report Released on Nursing Home Violations

The state has released a full inspection report on a nursing home which was cited for being unsanitary. An NBC2 investigation found a third of the residents at the nursing home already had pre-existing respiratory problems. Inspectors believed that the mold and leak problems have become health hazards for the nursing home and are the cause of the respiratory illnesses. Inspectors also found roof leaks with “swelling, blistering, and vegetation growth as well as water actively dripping from windowsills. Some of the patients complained of bronchitis caused by the mold in the building. While officials say that no patients were directly harmed by these issues, inspectors found visible mold in the medication room. Unsanitary conditions are one common cause of nursing home negligence. To read more about the nursing home conditions, please click the link.

New Website Helps Rate Illinois Nursing Homes

A new website allows family and friends of nursing home residents to access, rate and share information regarding Illinois nursing homes. It allows you to ask questions and view relevant information regarding nursing homes. This website will help you determine where to place your loved ones while avoiding nursing home negligence. To view the nursing home website, please click the link.

State Senate Hearing to Examine Nursing Home Safety

Two Senate committees will hold a joint hearing next month to examine ways to improve safety at Illinois nursing homes. These homes have a high number of felons with mental illness which has led to reported assaults, rape and even murder. There will be a hearing in Chicago where elder advocates will speak. There will also be the heads of major state agencies in charge of nursing home safety, including the departments of public health, aging, and health care and family services. This hearing is in response to a Chicago Tribune series that exposed the dangerous mix of elderly residents and mentally ill felons. The series found incomplete background checks of younger criminals placed in the homes because of he psychiatric disorders, low staffing levels at many of the facilities that admit them. The hearing will be independent of Governor Quinn’s recently convened Nursing Home Safety Task Force. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has also called on public health officials to beef up inspections, improve data-keeping of alleged crimes and review the criminal histories of all 3,000 felons living in nursing homes. Hopefully these hearings will help reduce nursing home abuse. To read more about the nursing home hearings, please click the link.

Cook County Jury Awards $1 Million Verdict in Nursing Home Negligence Case

A $1 million jury verdict was entered in a nursing home negligence case against Lee Manor Nursing Home in Des Plaines, Illinois. The case involved the death of a nursing home resident who exited a window of the nursing home and died soon after from fall-related injuries. The wife and son of the decedent were represented by nursing home neglect attorneys Bryan Waldman and Patricia Gifford of Levin & Perconti.

The victim entered Lee Manor on July 23, 2003. Years before his admission to the nursing home, he was diagnosed as suffering from chronic paranoid schizophrenia and is severely blind. The victim required ongoing supervision and monitoring by nursing home staff. He was placed on a secured floor where the doors were alarmed and the elevators were keyed. However, the nursing home allowed the windows to open 8 and 1/8th inches, providing the victim an avenue to exit. On April 21, 2004, less than one year after he entered, the man fell from a window in his room on the fifth floor of the nursing home and died as a result of his injuries. The jury found nursing home negligence when the nursing home failed to prevent the victim from falling out of the window.

The Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers of Levin & Perconti are committed to protecting and vindicating the rights of nursing home negligence victims. Please contact the firm at (312) 332-2872 or click here to consult an Illinois lawyer.

91-year-old Nursing Home Resident Attacked at South Shore Nursing Home

According to the Chicago Sun Times, a 91-year-old female resident of South Shore Nursing Home in the South Side of Chicago was attacked by a male resident of the nursing home. The woman was taken to a local hospital after she suffered bruises and swelling around her eye, but did not require further hospitalization. According to the report, the male resident approached her from behind and punched her repeatedly. The report did not indicate the age or condition of the male resident. To read the entire article about this incident of nursing home abuse at South Shore Nursing Home, follow the link.

Last year, the Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at Levin & Perconti filed a lawsuit against South Shore Nursing Home for the negligence of another resident. To read more about this nursing home neglect lawsuit, click on the link.

Senate Finance Committee to Vote on Health Care Reform Act including Elder Justice Act

The Senate Finance Committee is set to vote tomorrow, October 13, on health care reform. The bill includes nursing home transparency, background checks on LTC Workers and the Elder Justice Act. The Finance Committee bill will have to be merged with a bill already passed by the Senate HELP Committee. A key provision of the bill, disclosure of entities that provide financial guarantees of more than $50,000 to nursing homes, has already been stricken from the Finance bill even before the debate began. Please contact your local congressman to voice your support for the Elder Justice Act. To read more about the upcoming vote, please visit the NCCNHR’s website.

Study Shows Poorly Performing Nursing Homes

According to the Government Accountability Office almost 4 percent of the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes could be considered “the most poorly performing” of standards of nursing homes. The most poorly performing home’s tended to be chain-affiliated, for-profit and have more beds and residents. To identify the worst homes in the nation, GAO applied CMS’s Special Focus Facilities methodology on a nationwide basis and made refinements to the methodology that “strengthened” GAO’s estimate. The most poorly performing nursing homes had notably more deficiencies. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has identified that four Illinois nursing homes are Special Focus Facilities that include:

Pekin Manor in Pekin, Illinois
Shawnee Rose Care Center in Harrisburg, Illinois
Embassy Health Care Centre in Wilmington, Illinois
International Village in Chicago, Illinois

To read more about the nursing home study, please visit the NCCNHR’s website.

State Officials Meet on Nursing Home Deficiencies

Top officials from seven state agencies met for nearly two hours to discuss safety breakdowns at nursing homes that accept high numbers of mentally ill criminals. They have laid out a blueprint for solving what they have described as a very serious problem in terms of nursing home abuse. The task force met in response to the Chicago Tribune’s series that detailed instances when elderly and disabled nursing home residents were allegedly assaulted, raped and even murdered by mentally ill criminals who lived in the facilities. The task force will meet at least a half dozen times over the next several months to discuss combating nursing home abuse. They are set to complete a report by January 31 with recommendations to the governor on how to better the situation. The task force is set to conduct unannounced site visits to various nursing facilities to seek public input about the best ways to assure safety for residents. Task force members are calling on better training for public health inspectors. They also suggested a thorough review of the criminal background screenings of the roughly 3,000 mentally ill offenders now living in the nursing homes. Illinois should consider licensing separate facilities for mentally ill residents with criminal backgrounds or violent histories to resolve problems created by the volatile mix of elderly and psychiatric patients. To read more about the Illinois task force, please click the link.

Illinois Ranks High on Bad Nursing Report

A new federal report shows that Illinois has the nation’s second-highest number of nursing homes that have been flagged as having poor quality. Forty-seven Illinois nursing homes are among facilities that perform “most poorly” on quality-of-care measures, according a study released by the General Accounting Office. The report rated homes on staffing levels, procedures to prevent bed sores, measures to prevent elderly abuse and neglect and other factors. The study recommends vastly expanding a federal program that closely monitors U.S. nursing homes with the worst quality ratings. The report also highlights shortcomings in the way that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are administered. Homes in Illinois, whose nursing homes perform worse than others, should have closer inspections. The Health Care Council of Illinois stated that they have not had the chance to review the report. Homes rated as poorly performing tend to be larger, for profit agencies and have an average of nearly 24% fewer registered nurses relative to the number of patients. Illinois has recently created a task force to combat allegations of nursing home abuse that occurs at the hands of mentally ill patients. To read more about the nursing home study, please click the link.

AARP Report Concerning Background Checks on Home Care Workers

American Association of Retired Person’s Public Policy Institute just released a new report on federal and state approaches to background check screening of home care workers to protect vulnerable from harm. Currently states increasingly require criminal background checks for home care workers to protect vulnerable adults from harm. Forty-six states mandate some form of background check for Medicaid-funded workers, however there is no uniform protocol for screening and disqualifying candidates. There also needs to be robust scholarship on the relationship between criminal behavior and the risk of elder mistreatment. The paper offers an up-to-date assessment of practices including: implementing promising state-level practices to increase accuracy, speed, cost-effectiveness and fairness to job applicants. Also, states should use multiple, complementary screening tools, not just criminal background screening. Criminal background checks will greatly reduce nursing home abuse. To read more about background checks, please click the link.

Nursing Home is fined $90,000

A nursing home has received the most severe penalty under state law after an investigation concluded that inadequate care led to the death of a resident. The department of health said that the nursing home received a “AA” citation and a $90,000 fine from the state. He stated that the facility failed to implement a plan of care to prevent a resident’s injury. One nursing home patient wrongfully died after complications from a fall. Falls are a very common form of nursing home negligence. To read more about the nursing home sanctions, please click the link.

Illinois Congresswoman Wins NCCNHR Policy Leadership Award

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care issues a Policy Leadership Award to a public official who has provided exemplary leadership in advancing quality of care and quality of life for residents receiving long-term care. This year’s recipient is U.S. Representative Janice D Schakowsky of Illinois. During her six terms in the Unites States House of Representatives, Representative Schakowsky has been a strong advocate for the quality long-term care and resident’s rights. In 2000, Ms. Schakowsky introduced the first bill to require nursing homes to meet the NCCNHR minimum staffing standards. Also, during the past two years, she has helped craft and include in the House health care reform legislation the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act. This is the most comprehensive nursing home improvement bill since the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. She hopes to ensure that the Elder Justice Act and the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act were included in health care reform in 2009. Levin & Perconti are proud to have a Representative that is such a wonderful advocate for nursing home rights. To read more about the Illinois senator, please click the link.

Task Force Addresses Safety in Illinois Nursing Homes

A task force is meeting for the first time to address assaults, rapes and murders in Illinois nursing homes. After Illinois has shut down state-run mental hospitals, nursing homes have had to pick up the slack. An AP analysis found Illinois ranks highest in the nation in the number of the mentally ill adults under the age of 65 living in nursing homes. The Chicago Tribune recently examined how violent felons living in nursing homes put frail elderly at risk. The governor formed the task force to bring together agencies that regulate nursing homes and screen potential residents. The advocacy group, Illinois Citizens for Better Care and Wendy Meltzer, say they have that the task force members will solve problems rather than make excuses. This could be a positive step for Illinois to improve their record of nursing home abuse. To read more about the task force, please click the link.

80-year-old Woman Fights Nursing Home Arbitration Clause

An attorney for an elderly stroke victim urged a state’s Supreme Court to let her take her fraud claims against a nursing home to trial, rather than to arbitration as the health care facility is demanding. A circuit court judge ruled that the victim could not be forced to arbitrate her claims, but his decision was recently overturned by the court of appeals. The woman suffered a stroke in September 2005 and states that the nursing home delayed filing her Medicaid application so it could continue charging her a higher daily rate for several months. The delay eventually cost her more than $70,000. She also alleged that a nursing home employee put her in touch with people who tried to buy her home for far less than its value. Currently, Illinois is trying to pass legislation that bans binding arbitration in nursing home contracts. Binding arbitration clauses compel unwary purchasers into forfeiting their right to their day in court. To read more about the binding arbitration clause, please click the link.

Residents Rights Week is celebrated by NCCNHR

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has designated this week as Resident’s Rights Week. Residents’ Rights Week is celebrated the first full week in October each year to honor residents living in all long-term care facilities. It is a time for celebration and recognition. This is also an opportunity for every nursing home to focus on and celebrate awareness of dignity, respect and the value of each individual resident. Ombudsmen, citizen’s advocacy groups, family and residents councils and long-term care facilities across the country are honoring residents with several events. NCCNHR has put together five ways to participate in resident’s rights week. First visit a resident of a nursing home. While there, encourage a facility to use one of the activity examples from NCCNHR’s Residents’ Rights Week packet. Also you should educate families and the community about Residents’ Rights by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about Residents’ Rights. Finally host a residents’ rights week event. To read more about ways to celebrate residents’ rights week, please click the link.

Patients Safety a Concern at Nursing Home

CBS 21 News is investigating patient care at a nursing home. Former staff members told the station that they have serious concerns about the safety and welfare of the patients. The investigation revealed biohazard bags on the floor in a trash packed utility room and dirty toilets and floors. The state had found the nursing home to be not compliant. The state believed that the records were not handled correctly and residents were not being fed on time. Also, the food wasn’t being stored properly and the medication cart was stored in the hallways. Nursing homes must remain clean and tidy in order to avoid nursing home negligence. To read more about the nursing home allegations, please click the link.

Attorney Levin Speaks out Against Recent Ombudsmen Cuts

Attorney Steven Levin of Levin & Perconti wrote a letter to the editor of the State Journal Register expressing his dismay at the recent budget cuts that have occurred. Levin is upset that funding for the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsmen would be cut by 19 percent. He stressed that the thousands of seniors living in Illinois nursing homes benefit greatly from the advocates as they are their eyes, ears and voices. An ombudsman is a resident advocate who can assist families when issues arise at a nursing home. The ombudsman identifies poor care or abuse when a resident does not have anyone else to advocate for them. The ombudsmen are the residents’ watchdogs and whistleblowers, unafraid to demand quality care and respect for every nursing home resident under their care. These budget cuts will likely mean that fewer voices will be raised and poor-quality care or elderly neglect will go unnoticed or unpunished. Levin asks that both Governor Pat Quinn and the Aging Director Charles Johnson reconsider this cut so that advocates can continue to serve as a voice for one of the most vulnerable populations in Illinois. To read the letter to the editor, please click the link.

Jeff Kelly-Lowenstein Receives NCCNHR Public Service Award

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care issues a Public Service Award to a person or entity whose work has profoundly expanded coverage and public understanding of long-term care issues. This year one of the recipients is Jeff Kelly-Lowenstein and The Chicago Reporter, for their work showing widespread racial disparity in Illinois nursing homes and the human impact that is felt. Kelly-Lowenstein investigated the racial disparities in Illinois nursing homes, which “explained what these disparities actually mean to residents and made the issue understandable in human terms.” The nursing home article mentioned Levin & Perconti’s case against International Village in which a nurse failed to change a patient’s oxygen supply. The patient died shortly after he went an entire day without breathing on the ventilator. Jeff Kelly-Lowenstein’s article was a critical look at nursing home abuse in Illinois. To read more about the award, please click the link.

How to Decide Whether a Nursing Home is the Right Fit

The LA Times has come up with a helpful list for determining which nursing home is the right one to place your loved one. They believe that by asking the facility certain questions you will be able to determine if it is a safe place. First ask whether the care meets the need of your family member such as personalizing rooms with photographs and other items. Next ask whether the facility has adequate fire and safety systems which are up to date. It is important that a facility has a wanderer alert to ensure that disoriented residents do not leave. There should be few policies on physical and chemical restraints. It is important to research whether the nursing home has a history of pressure ulcers. The Medicare website is helpful in determining which nursing home is right for you. To read more about nursing home advice, please click the link.

More than 35 Million People Have Dementia Worldwide

New statistics on the worldwide prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are being released today as countries across the globe joint together in recognition of World’s Alzheimer’s Day. According to the World Alzheimer Report, an estimated 35.6 million people worldwide will be living with dementia in 2010. This is a 10% increase over previous global dementia prevalence reported in 2005. It is important to have elderly people screened for dementia. Unchecked, dementia will impose enormous burdens on individuals, families and the global economy. Many residents in nursing homes suffer from dementia and are oftentimes the victims of nursing home abuse. To read more about the dementia statistics, please click the link.