Articles Posted in Compromised Care: Tribune Investigation

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The nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti have handled all types of abuse and neglect lawsuits against Alden nursing homes throughout Illinois for many years. Today’s Chicago Tribune tells the story of at least thirteen children in the Chicago area who fell victim to abuse and neglect at Alden Village North, a nursing home located at 7464 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago.

The Tribune’s article exposes the sad truth that abuse and neglect not only happens to the elderly living in Illinois nursing homes, but also to younger residents who require ongoing medical treatment that they cannot receive at home. Parents and family members place their trust with nursing home staff to care for their loved ones, but unfortunately neglect and abuse occur, often due to negligent hiring and short-staffing. One of the victims in the Tribune article was just two years old when he died of asphyxiation because staff at the facility failed to properly monitor his tracheotomy tube for over 3.5 hours. The child had a habit of playing with the tube but staff did nothing to prevent this behavior and did not notify his physician of his actions.

In another sad case, a nine-year-old boy who suffered from severe cognitive deficits died due to nursing home neglect. Staff failed to properly care for his g-tube, failed to notice a change in his condition and failed to communicate these changes to his doctor. As a result, he died from bowel obstruction and an infection at a local hospital.
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The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan led a team of state and local law enforcement officials in a sweep of Presidential Pavilion on Chicago’s south side. The nursing home sweep was planned to find wanted criminals at the nursing home. Three arrests of felons were made at Presidential Pavilion in the unannounced visit. Madigan arrived at the nursing home accompanied by 30 police and state officials who went room to room talking to the residents about their nursing home safety.

The authorities had issued 14 warrants for felon residents at Presidential Pavilion. Their were 20 resident in the nursing home that had a criminal record of a total of 950 arrests and 399 convictions. Morris Esformes owns this nursing home and total they control 28 homes in Illinois and Florida. This raid occurs as Governor Quinn and his nursing home task force are in the final stages of completing a nursing home safety-reform bill. This Illinois nursing home legislation will help decrease the nursing home abuse that so often occurs in Chicago nursing home. The nursing home debates include increasing nursing home employees at facilities. This is an extremely important matter because studies show that the per staff to resident ratio has the greatest effect on nursing home abuse. There will also be stiffer penalties for those nursing home that commit nursing home abuse. These raids and the new legislation will greatly help reduce the problems that are occurring in Illinois nursing homes. To read more about the nursing home raids, please click the link.

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Currently nursing home operators and advocates for seniors are debating the amount of change needed to fix the much troubled Illinois nursing home industry. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the nursing home industry is balking at the Nursing Home Safety Task Force and their recommendations for legislative action. The nursing home operators are objecting to the idea of raising minimum staffing levels. They also are not keen on the idea to increase fines and penalties for unsafe and poorly run facility and raising fees to help pay for these new safety implementations.

Also, some senior advocates are in opposition to the task force recommendation that separate wings or facilities become licensed so as to not mix them with vulnerable nursing home residents. They believe that the separate units do not solve the problem that is currently plaguing the mentally ill. The problems associated with the mentally ill and felons in nursing homes are what prompted the safety task force in the first place. Since then state officials, elder advocates and industry representatives are now meeting in smaller “working groups” to determine the best cause of action to solve these problems.

The task force’s report has an ambitious plan to move thousands of mentally disabled people from nursing homes into smaller residential programs. These programs will provide intensive therapy and supervision for those who require it. This appears to be one of many problems plaguing Illinois nursing homes. The AARP’s associative state director believes that many Illinois nursing homes fail to reach the minimum standards of quality of care and safety. To read more about the nursing home proposals, please click the link.

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Illinois and Chicago officials are looking towards new legislative proposals to improve nursing home safety. 48th Ward Alderman Mary Ann Smith has introduced ordinance amendments which will hopefully strengthen the current city of Chicago inspections of nursing facilities. Additionally, the nursing home legislation will increase enforcement and penalties for incidents of nursing home abuse. Under the new legislation nursing homes will be required to make the details of their financial and safety records more accessible to the public.

While this new city legislation is being debated, Governor Quinn’s office is planning to introduce legislation that will implement the recommendations of the recently formed Nursing Home Safety Task Force. This task force was formed immediately after the Chicago Tribune reported the grave conditions that take place at area Chicago nursing homes. These incidents included rapes, attacks and murders in those facilities that house the elderly with the mentally ill. The task force has recommended tightening criminal background checks on new residents, increasing nursing staffing and bolstering sanctions against facilities whom chronically breach safety regulations.

The Chicago nursing home lawyers of Levin and Perconti support the recent efforts to improve nursing home safety. We recognize that legislative action may decrease the number of incidents of nursing home abuse throughout the state of Illinois. Many other organizations are supporting the legislation such as the AARP, Illinois Citizens for Better Care and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. The crafters of the bill believe that the great amount of support they are receiving will help the nursing home bill pass through the legislative channels. To learn more about the recent proposals, read the Chicago Tribune article on Illinois nursing home legislation.

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According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan stated that both her office and the local police are intensifying their efforts to protect nursing home residents by making unannounced visits and conducting broad safety checks at troubled Illinois nursing homes. Criminal investigators have joined with Chicago police to examine nursing home records to uncover unregistered felons and sex offenders living within the facilities. They are also interviewing residents and staff at those facilities with histories of serious safety breaches. Madigan’s chief of staff stated that the current regulatory system has proved itself incapable of any type of rapid response to violations.

Governor Quinn is also working to introduce a comprehensive package of nursing home safety-reform bills. This is after Quinn’s Nursing Home Safety Task Force completed a 52-page plan to overhaul to state’s troubled long-term system that includes nursing homes housing more than 3,000 patients with felony records. The task force has met with representatives of the state’s largest nursing-home association as well as advocates for both the mentally ill and the elderly. It has recommended screening of people admitted to nursing homes by identifying those with criminal backgrounds. This will help decrease the amount of in-resident nursing home abuse.

The task force was initiated in response to a Chicago Tribune investigation documenting the rapes and attacks at Illinois nursing homes. If you or a loved one has been of victim of nursing home abuse, please contact a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer. To learn more about the findings of the nursing home task force, please click the link.

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Chicago nursing home attorney Steven Levin wrote to the Chicago Tribune to praise them for their commitment to uncovering nursing home abuse. He applauded the Tribune’s efforts in raising public awareness of Chicago nursing home abuse. Attorney Levin believes that there is a critical need for adequate staffing in nursing homes to protect residents from harm or abuse. When nursing-home owners focus on census over patient care, nursing home negligence ensues. Care workers must be sufficiently trained to create an environment void of physical and sexual abuse. Steven Levin urged readers to contact their respective state representatives to demand legislation that provides minimum staffing standards for Illinois nursing homes. This will help avoid Chicago nursing home abuse. To read the entire letter to the editor, please check out the link.

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Chicago’s Somerset Place nursing home has filed a civil lawsuit to stop the government from administratively shutting it down. State and federal authorities were threatening to close Somerset Place until it remedies the serious safety breaches they found upon inspection. The officials stated that these breaches put “the health and safety of residents in immediate jeopardy.” The Chicago nursing home has filed a submitted plan of correction. This story correlates to the recent Chicago Tribune reports that found violence and elderly abuse at the facility. There were also numerous Department of Public Health citations along with complaints from the community. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did warn the facility that it would face termination from their programs unless these problems were addressed. The nursing home negligence has lead to fines of at least $6,050 per day. Also, their Illinois state license is in the process of being revoked. If you have a loved one within Somerset Place, please consult a Chicago nursing home attorney. To learn more about the nursing home revocation, please click the link.

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As Chicago nursing home attorneys, we have represented hundreds of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect and witnessed many instances of sexual abuse in Illinois nursing homes. Today, the Chicago Tribune reports on their latest investigation into poor care in Chicago nursing home, focusing on sexual assault and abuse in nursing homes throughout the city.

Citing incidents at such nursing homes as Rainbow Beach Care Center and All Faith Pavilion on the South Side, and Sheridan Shores Care & Rehabilitation Center, Warren Park Health & Living Center and Somerset Place on the North Side, the investigation reveals the epidemic of sexual violence, along with the fact that little is being done to stop it. According to the Tribune’s investigation, 86 cases were investigated, but only one arrest was made.

Throughout Chicago, nursing home owners, such as Eric Rothner (who has ownership in Rainbow Beach, Sheridan Shores and Somerset Place), operate their homes at below-average staffing levels. This creates an environment where even the most well-intentioned direct care staff cannot deliver the proper care and attention that the residents need and deserve. In addition to low staffing levels, Chicago nursing homes often mix populations of elderly residents with younger, mentally-ill residents. Sometimes, these psychiatric residents have histories of violent crime. This creates an unsafe environment for more vulnerable residents, because nursing homes do not have the staff to properly monitor psychiatric residents.

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Authorities swept two Chicago-area nursing homes for people with outstanding arrest warrants. The sweeps identified 20 residents with warrants ranging from domestic battery to assault. The raids were initiated by Attorney General Lisa Madigan who stated that Illinois is “working to keep Illinois nursing homes safe and not safe houses for fugitives.” Eight people were arrested on the warrants. The team searched the Rainbow Beach Care Center and the Kenwood Healthcare Center. They are both located on the South Side of Chicago. State records show that both facilities have large number of felons who create frequent police reports. Rainbow Beach had 18 felons out of a total of 193 residents and 17 reports of assaults or batteries. Kenwood has 95 felons living amongst 172 residents and has had 30 police reports of assaults or batteries. Madigan is upset that background check laws are not being complied with. She hopes that people will follow the legislation to avoid nursing home abuse. To learn more about the recent raids, check out the link.

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A panel appointed by Illinois governor Quinn proposed a great deal of reforms that are designed to end the chronic violence and elderly abuse that plague many Illinois nursing homes. Also, the panel is brainstorming ways to foster better treatment for people with serious mental illness living in nursing homes. One of the proposals is to have tightened criminal background checks of new nursing home residents. They are also recommending that the state police start searching Illinois nursing homes for residents with outstanding warrants. Illinois nursing homes should be brought up to the standards spelled out in federal government studies on nursing home care. An important way to achieve this goal is to divert the mentally ill people from nursing homes into more appropriate treatment settings in their communities. Finally, Illinois has recognized that mixing the elderly and mentally ill in understaffed nursing homes creates a great deal of nursing home abuse. To read further into the new panel, please click the link.