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A Failed Plan Makes Perfect Neglect

There is an old saying that says, “a failure to plan is a plan of failure.” The same is true for nursing homes and their responsibility to create effective care plans for residents. However when nursing homes fail to plan, the result may cause harmful neglect.

A Plan Gone Wrong
Earlier this year, Forest Hill Health & Rehabilitation Center was fined $12, 500.00 by the Illinois Department of Public Health for failure to implement an intervention policy on behalf of a resident with documented aggressive behavior. During one incident, the aggressive resident grabbed another resident by the throat and started beating him in the face and head until the victim began bleeding. On another occasion the resident choked a patient on the dementia unit and threw his food and belongings on the floor.

The violation report includes statements from the aggressor’s family and staff confirming that the facility was notified of the resident’s history of aggressive behavior prior to his admission into the facility and declined to implement an effective plan to manage his behavior. Rather, the facility continued one-to-supervision which proved to be an ineffective intervention method.

The Department of Health retrieved statements from a physician, nursing staff and other residents documenting their fear of this individual along with their concerns of whether the nursing home was the appropriate setting for the resident.

Unfortunately, the concerns fell on deaf ears. No planning or intervention occurred on behalf of the aggressive resident. As a result 3 residents were physically assaulted while other residents were left in the line of fire and not relocated to a safer area within the facility.

Why Care-Planning Matters?
A care plan is the road map and guide to a residents care in a nursing home. An effective plan is prepared by a team that includes: the resident, the resident’s representative, the doctor and other appropriate nursing home staff such as a social worker. It should include interventions such as increased supervision, activities to re-channel aggression or therapy after a resident displays aggressive behavior as in the Forest Hill case.

Both Federal and Illinois State Law require that a care plan is created for an individual upon admission into the facility and that it be reassessed regularly or upon requests when significant changes occur in a resident’s status. Federal law also requires that the resident and their representative are notified in advance of care plan meetings and that the meetings be held at a convenient time for adequate participation.

Often nursing homes treat care plan meetings with residents and their families as a formality. There is little communication on effective intervention methods once changes in behavior or care occur. The failure of a facility to implement proper care planning for a resident is dangerous, unlawful and may constitute abuse or neglect.

If someone you know has been harmed as a result of inadequate care planning or interventions do not hesitate to contact our nursing home neglect attorneys today.