Articles Posted in How to tell if your nursing home is bad

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Late last month a jury was asked to decide a nursing home neglect case related to a resident who died after falling well over a dozen times. As an apparent message of anger to the company which provided such substandard care, the jury returned a utterly astonishing verdict – $1.2 Billion.

A Christian Post story has the details of the case.

The suit was pursued by a man on behalf of his mother. The senior woman stayed at the defendant-nursing home for a period of about three years, from 2004 until her death in 2007. The defendant facility, owned by a large nursing home conglomerate, Trans Healthcare Inc., apparently took little stock in ensuring that the best interests of the residents were actually respected.

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Those who follow issues related to elder care and nursing home neglect in Illinois are probably aware of the fact that poor care is not evenly dispersed across all long-term care facilities. Instead, there are often chronic problems at a smaller subset of facilities where preventable injuries occur time and again. That is not to say that nursing home neglect can’t occur everywhere–it certainly can–but overall there are certain home that are far more likely to cause harm.

This is exactly why it is incredibly important to be as diligent as possible when deciding where to have your loved one move if they need long-term care. If there is a choice between a few facilities, be sure to research the track record of those homes to determine if any of them have a series of problems related to poor care.

Yet, the reality is that there is often very little time to properly and fully vet a facility before having a loved one move in. They may be discharged from the hospital, and the need a new living location immediately. In that way, many families have no choice but to trust that the facility will abide by their legal requirement to provide appropriate care at all times to keep their relatives safe. Unfortunately, many homes fall far short of those requirements.

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It is a story that has affected far too many families. A loved one begins to show serious signs of aging issues, and concerns about wandering, falls, or receiving day-to-day nursing care pile up. Eventually, the care the senior needs becomes too much–husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and others often are unable to provide the assistance necessary. Looking out for their relative’s best interest, they make the difficult choice of finding what they assume to be an appropriate alternative living arrangement. These care facilities are supposed to ensure their loved one remains safe, received the help they need, and are still able to thrive in their golden years.

Sadly, thriving is the last thing many seniors experience. Instead, often as a result of negligence or mistreatment, the seniors suffer various quality of life problems. It sometimes end in serious injuries or even death stemming from that poor care.

That is exactly what seemed to be the case for a family profiled in a recent WPTV news story. Their husband and father had always been full of energy. As a professional wrestling star for more than three decades–from the 1950s to the 1980s–he entertained audiences as his “Chief White Owl” character. As he aged, however, the man began showing signs of cognitive conditions often attributed to aging. Eventually, after beign diagnosed with end-stage senile dementia, his family decided that he needed to be moved into a facility where he could receive the around-the-clock care that he needed.

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We often advise local residents to be vigilant when selecting the best home for their loved one. Not all facilities are the same, and choosing one home over another may be the difference between your family member being neglected or not. In addition, regardless of neglect risk, there are other factors that have been shown time and again to affect the quality of life for those in these facilities–such as proximity to friends and family members for frequent visits. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ “Nursing Home Compare” website is perhaps the best starting point for investigations in all long-term care facilities nationwide, including in Illinois and Chicago.

However, it is important to recognize that, at the end of the day, most seniors and adults with disabilties would prefer to age in place, instead of moving into a skilled nursing facility. Fortunately, many qualified at-home care providers exist throughout the area to provide the support needed so that the elderly are able to maintain as much independence as possible while still having extra support to keep them safe and secure.

The same concerns about abuse and neglect exist, however. Even though most at-home care providers are caring, supportive caregivers, there are always exceptions. In fact, considering seniors are inviting these individuals into their homes there is perhaps even more risk of the individual suffering physical, emotional, and financial loss if the at-home caregiver is willing to take advantage of the resident’s vulnerabilities.

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It seems that all too often we hear of tragic incidents occurring at Nursing Homes. Today, the Chicago Tribune published an article regarding Alden Village North noting that over the past ten years, Alden has been cited thirteen times for violations in connection to the deaths of its patients.

It is unreasonable to believe that any facility can be perfect in their care, but the types of nursing home neglect that Alden has shown is, in our opinion, inexcusable. The law firm of Levin & Perconti has handled a significant number of cases against Alden for their negligent treatment and care of patients. When negligence occurs, it is important for a facility to investigate the source and correct any problems to mitigate these types of incidents. Alden has been neglecting this part of their duty.

A one-year-old Alden Village North resident who suffered from severe Down syndrome was found in his room “unresponsive and blue” about forty-five minutes after having been fed. There was no one in the room when the child died, and as such Alden was responsible to investigate the cause of the child’s death. In a state investigation, it was found that there was no evidence that the facility reviewed whether proper supervision was provided. The facility was also cited for being understaffed and for not reporting his death to the state health department.

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Among the 15,547 nursing homes in a set of U.S. News ranking, there are 131 that have been tagged as “Special-Focus Facilities.” They are red flagged as SFFs. These nursing homes have long histories of inconsistent or subpar health inspections. A nursing home is labeled as an SFF if first there are consecutive inspections with deficiencies; second that that deficiency affected many residents; finally that that problem remains unresolved on follow-up inspections. If a home is labeled as an SFF it can lose its Medicare and Medicaid credentials. If you are looking at a nursing home labeled as an SFF stay armed with questions.

Alden Wentworth and International are just two examples of nursing home conglomerates in Illinois that have had bad track records. To discover what makes a nursing home bad, please check out the link.

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The Alden Network is an Illinois entity operating over 40 nursing homes within Illinois. Due to the overwhelming amount of nursing homes, you may not recognize a specific home as an Alden Network home. Since the nursing home abuse attorneys at Levin & Perconti have filed a number of lawsuits against Alden homes, we have provided a list of Alden Network homes below. If you have a complaint against any of these homes, you should contact the Illinois Department of Public Health at 1-800-252-4343 and consult a nursing home abuse lawyer.

Alden Network Homes in Illinois

Alden Alma Nelson Manor– Rockford, Illinois

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Charges of nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are rising across the country, but there are certain things that families of nursing home residents can do to spot elder abuse before it causes wrongful death or severe injury. Examine your loved one for bedsores and bruises. Ask your loved one questions – if they are agitated, restless, or out of sorts, this could be a clue that things at the nursing home are not right. Issues like rape, sexual assault, physical assault, and elder abuse need to be reported immediately to law enforcement.

For the full article.

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A nursing home in Canton, Ohio has lost its federal funding for having too many violations. According to inspectors, each time they went to the facility there was another problem. Unlike large corporate facilities, many smaller homes survive on Medicare and Medicaid to supplement what individual residents can pay to live in the home. This facility had a troubling list of violations including a patient not getting blood thinning medication until five days after the doctor prescribed it, a resident reported an instance of patient on patient rape and the doctor was not notified until 11 hours afterwards, a patient had severely matted and soiled hair resulting from his hair only being washed two or three times in six months at the facility, and old, used syringes lying around in patient rooms.

Read the full news report here.

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A nursing home employee has been arrested and charged with theft of medications from nursing home residents. The employee apparently switched prescription pain relievers with over the counter pain relievers and then gave the wrong medication to the nursing home residents. This case shows another example of how medication mixing, giving the wrong medication, and prescription drug theft are more and more common in nursing homes. Family and patient advocates should be sure to check with their loved ones in nursing homes to make sure the resident feels like their medication is working and should also watch how medication is administered.

See the news story here.