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nursing home abuse

There Are Several Ways to File a Complaint Against an Illinois Nursing Home

With more than 1,200 long-term care facilities serving over 100,000 residents with all types of medical issues, Illinois facilities licensed, regulated and inspected by the Illinois Department of Public Health are open for review and often subject to complaints. Rightful complaints are evaluated under the state’s Nursing Home Care Act. The Department’s 24-hour a day Nursing Home Hotline receives nearly 19,000 calls a year.

IDPH investigates quality of care issues, such as allegations of actual or potential harm to patients, patient rights, infection control, and medication errors. The Department also investigates allegations or harm or potential harm due to an unsafe physical (building) environment. Here is a list of the most common complaints.

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prescription drugs

How Nursing Homes Should Handle Dangerous Prescription Drug Recalls

While most families worry about the misuse of their loved one’s prescription drugs while they are living in a nursing home, a new medication issue is presenting itself across America. In 2017, the American Medical Association released a report showing that many drugs the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approves are involved in some kind of recall or safety event after being released to consumers. Nursing home and long-term care residents are especially at risk of taking recalled or defective drugs because not all recalls are announced by the FDA or reported in the news media. When a public announcement is not made, notification is typically made by communication from the drug manufacturer to a nursing home resident who may not be reachable or cognitive. A nursing home pharmacist or lead medical staff should be in the know of any recalled medications, remove any faulted drugs from the stock cabinet and help provide an alternative plan alongside a nursing home patient’s treating physician to prevent unnecessary sickness or injury.

Understanding Drug Recalls

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Newly released nursing home staffing data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proves that nursing homes have been “staffing up” for years in order to gain better ratings. In April, CMS began requiring nursing homes to submit daily payroll reports, versus the previous system in which nursing homes submitted staffing data for the two week period prior to an inspection. The problem with this method was that most nursing homes were aware that an inspection was coming and planned accordingly.

Using the new system of daily payroll submissions, the most recent quarterly report (April – June) shows that 1 in 11 nursing homes lost a star due to their poor staffing numbers. After data was added to Nursing Home Compare, the CMS website that rates nursing homes, Kaiser Health News reviewed the findings and found that 9% of all nursing homes received one star, the lowest possible rating for staffing.

To receive just one star, a nursing home must have had an abnormally “high number of days” without an RN on site during that quarter.

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nursing home wrongful death

A Closer Look at Christian Village Nursing Home Resident’s Untimely Death

Levin & Perconti attorneys recently reviewed second quarter nursing home violations in Illinois on the blog. One out of two facilities with a Type AA violation was Christian Village nursing home, located at 1507 Seventh St. in Lincoln. The home received the serious violation for failing to notify a 64-year-old patient’s doctor of rapid changes related to asthma. The female resident died a preventable death if only she had been treated for her known progressive respiratory symptoms and soon after initial complaints of shortness of breath. Her issues were followed by a continual decline in overall health and was soon later found unresponsive and taking her last supported breaths at a hospital. As a result, the Lincoln nursing home has been fined $50,000 by the state.

According to a report by the State Journal Register, the doctor, who isn’t named, is quoted in investigative documents saying, “I should have been notified” of the patient’s “progressive respiratory symptoms.” In the same note, the doctor said he had “no ideas what was going on” or he would have “ordered an antibiotic or sent the patient to a hospital emergency department earlier if he had known the patient continued to be short of breath,” and that he was shocked to hear the patient had died. The State Journal Register outlined the patient’s timeline of care in a July 18, 2018 news article.

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nursing home abuse

Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Allegations Are Slow to Be Investigated

Throughout the country and right here in Illinois, an already crippled group of elderly are being raped and sexually abused by the very people responsible for their daily care. It doesn’t matter if they are residents of low-income Medicaid funded homes or patients who pay ridiculous costs for daily living and care support staff, the victims are out there, yet little is being done to prevent or remedy the issue. In addition, for the victims or family members who report the allegations, identifying a perpetrator remains a challenge due to the very nature and mental state of most residents.

According to a CNN report, in Illinois, since 2013:

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The Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, has released a memo detailing the surge of Americans relying on hospice care in the 10 year period from 2006-2016. Some of the most notable findings include:

  • The number of hospice providers has grown 43% (from 3,062 in 2006 to 4,374 in 2016)
  • Medicare spending on hospice is up 81% (from $9.2 billion in 2006 to $16.7 billion in 2016)
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After a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that took the lives of 13 Illinois veterans and sickened at least 60 more, Governor Bruce Rauner has signed HB 4278, a law requiring Illinois veterans’ homes to notify residents and their emergency contacts of 2 or more diagnoses of the same infectious disease within a month.

Effective immediately, the law gives veterans’ homes just 24 hours to notify residents and their emergency contacts in writing when at least 2 of their fellow residents have been diagnosed with the same infectious disease. Facilities are also now required to post signage near the main entrance that clearly states the presence of the disease within the home. They must also post a notice on their website. Finally, the new law requires facilities to inform the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health as soon as they have notified residents.

Public and Employees Left Unaware of Deadly Outbreak in Quincy

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nursing home abuse and neglect

Aperion Care Capitol Nurse Was Never Trained on Feeding Tube Placement

According to a state report filed by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Aperion Care Capitol, a 251-bed skilled-care facility and nursing home located at 555 W. Carpenter St. was fined for “failing to ensure there were appropriately trained staff to reinsert a feeding tube” that fell out while two nursing assistants were haphazardly removing the patient’s T-shirt.

According to the March 2018 report:

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A top elder rights legal group, Justice in Aging, has released a timeline of events in which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have cut nursing homes a break by eliminating or easing restrictions that protect nursing home residents.

CMS is the federal agency tasked with the oversight and regulation of over 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. Their rules are intended to dictate how nursing homes operate and the group’s inspections and surveys often lead to fines and punishments that are intended to spur change and compliance. The number of incidents of neglect are still at an all-time high and in the second quarter of this year, the Illinois Department of Public Health (a state-run agency who works in cooperation with CMS) cited nursing homes for 28 more violations than in the quarter prior. If anything, rules, regulations, and laws need to be strengthened, with harsher punishments that send a message that improper treatment of the elderly is unacceptable.

CMS Easing Nursing Home Regulations

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The latest quarterly report on Illinois nursing home violations is in and the number of Type AA and Type A violations has increased since the first quarter of 2018.

The Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) Second Quarterly Report of Nursing Home Violators includes some repeat offenders from quarter 1, as well as one facility that received a $50,000 fine for a Type AA violation for the second time this year.

According to IDPH, Type AA violations are given when a nursing home has a “condition or occurrence at the facility that proximately caused a resident’s death.” Type A violations are situations “in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result, or has resulted.” IDPH defines Type B Violations as those that would likely cause mental or physical harm to a resident.