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Swansea Rehabilitation and Health Care Center is being sued by the wife and daughter of a 76-year-old resident that had just been admitted to recover from 2 recent falls. Windsor Keller had fallen twice in the 3 months prior to his admittance to Swansea Rehab & Health Care Center and was intended to be a short stay patient who would ultimately return to the independent living community that he and his wife called home.

On December 27, 2017, just 8 days after being admitted, Mrs. Constance Keller went to visit with her husband at Swansea. She discovered her husband in a subdued state, with his leg twisted behind his wheelchair and his teeth falling out. She discovered that he had fallen earlier that day and had him transferred to a local hospital where doctors diagnosed him with a fractured femur (the main bone in the upper leg) and a brain bleed.

No Fall Prevention Measures for Known Fall Risk

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A Special Focus Facility (SFF) is being sued by the family of Delores Green, an 84-year-old woman suffering from dementia, for allegedly failing to prevent her from being ‘repeatedly’ raped and sodomized.

The victim’s daughter, Vivian Colette Green, is suing Christian Care Home in Ferguson, Missouri for the alleged rapes after discovering her mother injuries just last month. A resident of the facility for nearly 8 years, the victim is unable to communicate, unable to walk, relies on a feeding tube, and is a diabetic. She was unable to tell her daughter what had taken place, but Vivian Green said she quickly realized that her mother had suffered sexual trauma due to the bruises and swelling on her body.

Upon discovering the injuries, Ms. Green immediately questioned staff at Christian Care Home but after feeling ignored and realizing the injuries were getting worse, she called the police. An emergency room physician conducted a rape examination, which includes a physical exam as well as a rape kit, and said her injuries were consistent with recent multiple rapes that had taken place over the course of several weeks. An investigation has identified a suspect, a fellow resident within Christian Care Home, but that suspect has not officially been named by police.

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Levin & Perconti has filed a lawsuit against Pleasant View Luther Home, a nursing home in Ottawa, IL, on behalf of the family of Edmund Wasilewski, a former resident who was injured after allegedly falling at the facility during the week of September 22, 2017.

As a result of the fall, Mr. Wasilewski suffered hemopneumothorax, a condition comprised of two separate chest injuries: hemothorax or blood in the chest cavity, combined with pneumothorax, or air in the chest cavity. Hemopneumothorax essentially causes the lungs to separate from the ribs, cutting off a patient’s ability to breathe and is caused by chest trauma.

Mr. Wasilewski died 5 days after his fall.

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Levin & Perconti has filed a lawsuit against Alden Lakeland Rehabilitation and Health Care Center on behalf of Michael Leonard, a former resident who was injured after allegedly falling on two separate occasions in 2016. Alden Lakeland transferred Mr. Leonard to Presence St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital where doctors discovered a subdural hematoma, nasal bone fractures, facial contusions and abrasions, loose front teeth, altered mental status, and dehydration.

The lawsuit alleges that Alden Lakeland failed in their promise to maintain and adhere to a care plan that would enable Mr. Leonard to improve his health at the facility, ultimately allowing a healthy and timely return home. Mr. Leonard and his attorney-in-fact, Patricia Cagney, are being represented by Levin & Perconti Partner Margaret Battersby-Black.

About Alden Lakeland and The Alden Network

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The elderly are particularly vulnerable to readmission after an initial hospital stay. A 2015 study by the American Hospital Association found that nearly 18% of all hospital patients are readmitted within 30 days and that most of those patients were elderly. In fact, 1 in every 5 nursing home residents who stay in the hospital are admitted again within 30 days. For the hospitals themselves, readmissions can be costly. The Affordable Care Act now penalizes hospitals who have high readmission rates. For the elderly, readmission can mean further health issues, depression, and even death.

Readmissions for Conditions Resulting from Time in the Hospital

While hospitals provide necessary and life saving care that other health care facilities and providers are unable to, hospital stays can also wreak havoc on a person’s normal daily routine, their hygiene and eating habits, their overall physical and mental health, as well as their physical strength.  Yale cardiologist Dr. Harlan Krumholz analyzed national readmission data and found that most patients returned to the hospital for a medical issue completely separate from the condition for which they were first admitted. He told the New York Times in August that it is his belief that elderly patients are in essence traumatized after a hospital stay, attributed to odd sleeping and wake schedules to accommodate hospital staff’s schedule for testing (blood pressure checks, blood draws, etc), diminished strength from spending all day in a bed, and from consuming different food and new medications. Dr. Krumholz calls the condition “post-hospital syndrome.”

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nursing home medication errors

Evictions and Transfers Could Lead to Medication Errors

There are many high-quality nursing home facilities committed to ensuring the residents in their care are receiving the best attention possible but that doesn’t stop family members from fearing the worst-case scenario when residents are evicted or transferred to a new facility.

In the past five years, Illinois was identified as having doubled their number of nursing home evictions and transfers. Evictions can be justified but Federal law requires nursing homes to give residents 30 days’ notice of their decision to evict them from the facility, as well as the opportunity to appeal the decision. That same notice must also be given to the state long-term care ombudsman, an elder rights representative assigned in every state.

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nursing home neglect

Skilled Care Falls Short While Nursing Home Costs Continue to Rise

While there has been a general slowing of individuals dependent on nursing home care from nearly 86 percent in 2012 to less than 82 percent in 2017, as life expectancy continues to increase in the U.S. and seniors account for a higher proportion of the population, demand for the services provided by nursing facilities will increase and no doubtingly, costs will follow suit. But supported and efficient services have failed to align and it’s our nation’s most vulnerable people and their families, as well as care staff, who pay the real price. So, who is to blame?

Third-party payors and private entities who haphazardly increase the costs of healthcare services without providing quality care of professional and skilled nurses and staff look guilty. Employing staff and pushing up labor costs only leads to widespread budget increases and less fattening of private facility pockets, but shortages can ironically do the same. Meanwhile, nursing home administrators blame behind the market reimbursement rates of patients on ‘traditional” Fee-for-Service (FFS) Medicare patients to Medicare Advantage (MA) patients to cause the industry to suffer and negatively profit, demanding them to raise general daily costs to residents and families or cut short in areas such as infrastructure and staffing quality workers.

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Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are responsible for the majority of care provided in nursing homes. AARP says “The job of a CNA can be difficult and hazardous. CNAs have demanding workloads and are often responsible for manually lifting and turning residents, which can cause lower back injuries. They can also be exposed to infections, diseases (such as tuberculosis), and physical violence from residents.”

Many of these nursing assistants are working incredibly long hours and multiple days in a row, pushing them into overtime. For many reasons, this already exhausting and demanding job is made even more so.

We’d like to share a current snapshot of the nursing assistant industry:

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nursing home infections

Painful Infections Remain Untreated When Chicago’s Nursing Homes are Understaffed

The Chicago Tribune recently published a scathing article on the inadequate measures taken by a Chicago nursing home to prevent a resident’s bedsores from turning into deadly infections. The story featured the negligence and wrongful death claims of an 85-year-old resident at Lakeview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on the city’s North Side. Family members of the resident told reporters that the facility’s staff never spoke of the “seriousness of the pressure sore, which led to sepsis, a severe infection that can quickly turn deadly if not cared for properly.”

Complications related to pressure sores often require intravenous antibiotics and sensitive care treatments to treat bloodstream infections and can result in painful surgeries to cut away dead skin around the wound. According to health officials, there are four types of infections that are often linked with sepsis including: lungs (pneumonia), kidney (urinary tract infection), skin (pressure wounds and bedsores) and gut. Out of the 6,000 Illinois nursing home residents who are hospitalized with sepsis each year, 1 in 5 won’t survive.

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nursing home disaster plan

Healthcare Facilities Should Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

Although new Medicare and Medicaid guidelines were set in place after the tragic deaths of over 100 nursing home residents during Hurricane Katrina, cases of patients left behind due to natural disasters such as wildfires, tornadoes, or floods are reported each year. These occurrences are starting to prompt health care officials to raise concern over the need for better public policy support, emergency planning resources, funding, and protections for vulnerable long-term care residents in the event of an emergency prompted by catastrophic events and conditions that threaten their well-being such as no internet and no electricity.

A recent federal review of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) records found that: