Alden Debes Rehabilitation and Health Care Center releases COVID-19 statistics showing 60 COVID infections and 16 deaths. Levin & Perconti, Illinois nursing home lawyers launch investigation into gross negligence in preventing the spread of COVID-19
On June 12, 2020, Alden Debes Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, located in Rockford, Illinois, released long term care outbreak data reporting of laboratory confirmed COVID-19 outbreak cases. These statics confirm that 60 infections and 16 deaths have occurred at the facility during the COVID-19 outbreak.
On April 28, 2020, an article posted by wifr.com detailed an upcoming statewide strike by nursing home workers which staff members at Alden Debes planned to participate in. According to the article the workers are threatening the strike in response to nursing facility’s refusal to provide improved personal equipment (PPE), enhanced safety protocols, and appropriate hazard pay and base compensation. The fact that staff members at Alden Debes planned to take part in this strike conveys the notion that this specific facility lacks the necessary resources to combat the spread of COVID-19 and has failed to protect both its workers and residents up to this point.
The Illinois Department of Public Health conducts yearly recertification procedures in which nursing homes are subjected to a review of their regulatory history and any violations occurring at the home. Furthermore, during the recertification process, when a nursing home has been found to have committed a regulatory violation, the facility is subsequently required to submit a plan of correction for how it will remedy the violation or prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.
The 2016 recertification survey conducted on September 30, 2016, found Alden Debes failed to monitor a resident’s blood pressure as ordered by a physician causing that resident increased medical complications. Moreover, the facility failed to follow their controlled drug documentation policy and procedure by not having accurate documentation with the requisite Controlled Drug Receipt/Record/Disposition Form. Lastly, the 2016 recertification survey found staff at Alden Debes to have failed to know the complete protocols and procedures to be taken in the event of a fire emergency. The survey explains this failure had the potential to affect all residents at the facility.
The 2017 recertification survey conducted on July 6, 2017, found Alden Debes failed to ensure preventative pressure relieving devices were put into place and functioning properly. This failure resulted in residents with care plans that required certain interventions aimed at preventing the development and deterioration of pressure ulcers to have not been met or adequately provided. Thus, leaving these residents susceptible to the development and deterioration of pressure ulcers. Furthermore, the facility failed to maintain gastrostomy tube care equipment in a safe and sanitary manner, exposing certain residents to the potential development of infections and other medical complications.
Another sanitary issue was noted in this recertification survey, specifically, the facility’s failure to label oxygen equipment and to store that equipment in a sanitary manner that again exposed residents to unnecessary risks. Additionally, the facility failed to ensure food sanitation interventions were implemented, a failure with the potential to affect all 69 residents receiving diets from the kitchen. Lastly, the 2017 recertification survey found staff at Alden Debes failed to perform handwashing and hand hygiene in between assisting residents with eating. These repeated failures relating to sanitation and hygiene are extremely concerning within the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic as hand hygiene and maintaining a sanitary environment are imperative in preventing the spread of the deadly virus throughout the facility.
The 2018 recertification survey conducted on June 8, 2018, found Alden Debes failed to ensure proper nutrition was provided to a resident who has suffering from pressure sores and had a history of significant weight loss. In addition, the facility failed to follow their policy in documenting reconciled controlled and narcotic substances during each shift and storing Schedule II controlled medications under a double-lock system accessible only to licensed staff. The facility further failed to follow their policy in documentation of medications administered to a resident. Lastly, and most importantly within the scope of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Alden Debes was cited as failing to follow their infection control program by having an indwelling catheter bag hanging from a garbage bin and touching the floor. During a pandemic, such a failure would be catastrophic for the nursing home and its residents as infection control and prevention are at the forefront in combating the outbreak of COVID-19.
The 2019 recertification survey conducted on July 31, 2019, found Alden Debes to have failed to ensure that call lights were answered in a timely manner for multiple residents, demonstrating the facility’s overall failure to implement and follow the requisite care plans for certain residents. Another failure documented in this recertification survey found the facility failed to ensure one resident receive continuous wound machine treatment for a foot ulcer. The fact failures related to treating pressure ulcers have occurred in consecutive recertification surveys demonstrates the facility’s failure to implement and follow its plan of correction.
Founding partner Steven M. Levin described these outbreaks in many Illinois Nursing Homes: “for many years prior to this outbreak, Alden Debes Rehabilitation and Health Care Center operated with insufficient staff and with a lack of adherence to recognized infection control protocols. It is not surprising that they were ill equipped to handle this outbreak.”
Levin & Perconti: Chicago Attorneys at Law
As experienced advocates for long-term care residents and their families, our firm is ready to help ensure that your loved ones stay safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. Please use our resources to help you stay connected and know that if you find yourself concerned about a resident’s well-being, you can call us at 312-332-2872 or toll-free at 877-374-1417 to request our help during a free consultation.
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As COVID-19 continues to spread, it has also magnified systemic breakdowns within Illinois’ long-term care facilities, nursing homes, or assisted living centers. After this latest release of reported data by IDPH, more than half of the COVID-19-related fatalities in Illinois have now occurred at these facilities.