Recently the Illinois Department of Public Health released its latest “Quarterly Violator’s List. The list includes a summary of each facility that has been cited for Illinois nursing home neglect, mistreatment, or other basic protocol errors in the care of those at the facility. The list is helpful in providing transparency and accountability to ensure that the public is made aware of the care provided at facilities in their error. In combination with tools like “Nursing Home Compare” for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, these public lists should be a crucial tool when making long-term care decisions for seniors.
Each Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer at our firm knows that the information contained in each individual report provides helpful facts about specific incidents of misconduct at various homes. For example, that latest report explains how East Moline Nursing and Rehabilitation received several “Type A” violations and was fined $25,000 in the last quarter. The citations were given for a range of errors. One unique citation was for violation of notice requirements for patient discharge. Specifically, the facility failed to provide a 30-day notice of intent to discharge and failed to provide documentation from a physician of need for an immediate discharge of a resident.
According to the report, the daughter of one resident who was suffering from dementia explained what happened. Apparently, her father may have touched another resident’s thigh-however, there was no inappropriate groping. Yet, after this act, the facility allegedly sent the male resident to the emergency room and then refused to take the man back into the facility. Essentially, this amounted to an involuntary discharge, which, obviously, places extreme stress on the senior with mental instabilities and his family.
There is somewhat conflicting information about the scope of the resident’s conduct with others at the facility. Accusations were made of the man’s inappropriate language and kissing of staff members and other residents. Apparently as a result of those several months of questionable behavior the resident was given an “immediate discharge.” However, our Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers know that there are very specific rules that need to be followed when discharging a resident. Obviously the seniors who are under the care of one of these facilities often have very specific vulnerabilities. It is not as simply as simply kicking them out in any way for any reason whatsoever.
There are certainly times when it may be appropriate to issue an immediate discharge. However, even then, there has to be some basic protocol followed. State requirements dictate that certain standards be met, such as a 30 day notice of intent to transfer or discharge and physician discharge documentation. In fact, the facility apparently had no known standards in place to guide discharges at all.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers appreciate that these discharge issues are sensitive ones. Of course, if a residents is an immediate threat to others in the facility then it is necessary to discharge the resident and otherwise ensure the safety of all those at the home. However, the process needs to orderly and fair. Failure to have guidelines in place for the dismissal process (and any other caregiving situation) is often a violation of state law and a risk to residents.
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