Alden of Waterford releases COVID-19 statistics showing 36 COVID infections and 9 deaths. Levin & Perconti, Illinois nursing home lawyers launch investigation into gross negligence in preventing the spread of COVID-19
On June 12, 2020, Alden of Waterford, located in Aurora, Illinois, released long term care outbreak data reporting of laboratory confirmed COVID-19 outbreak cases. These statics confirm that 36 infections and 9 deaths have occurred at the facility during the COVID-19 outbreak.
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 February 5, 2016, found Alden of Waterford failed to revise and update a care plan to ensure proper positioning and body alignment for one resident using an adult reclining chair. Furthermore, the facility failed to attempt behavior management prior to instituting psychotropic medications, failed to attempt less debilitating medications, and failed to obtain a diagnosis for use of a psychotropic medication.
Lastly, the 2016 recertification survey concluded that Alden of Waterford failed to implement adequate pest control precautions to ensure residents’ environments were free of crawling pests and insects. Additionally, the facility failed to take prompt action to alleviate the insect problem after it was initially discovered. This specific failure on the part of Alden of Waterford being unable to provide its residents with a sanitary environment raises serious concerns as to whether the facility is equipped to handle the outbreak of a deadly virus.
The 2017 recertification survey conducted on March 31, 2017, found Alden of Waterford failed in all of the following ways in regards to treatment and prevention of pressure ulcers or wounds: failed to follow their Wound Management Policy; failed to identify bilateral heel wounds; failed to ensure effective offloading of heels; failed to update wound care plans; and failed to notify the requisite physician of the need for changes to certain interventions. The survey explains these failures culminated in one resident developing significant pressure ulcers to the heels. Moreover, the survey documented several other failures by the facility including: failure to follow their Indwelling Catheter Policy; failure to ensure indwelling urinary catheter tubing was positioned below bladder level; failure to utilize a catheter stabilization device; and failure to hang a urinary catheter collection bag to a non-moving part of the resident’s bed. Lastly, the facility was found to have failed to apply a hand splint cone to a resident with limited range of motion, causing that resident great stress and hardship
The 2018 recertification survey conducted on April 18, 2018, found Alden of Waterford failed to provide its residents with comfortable and functional mattresses. In addition, the facility was found to have failed to provide grooming, nail care, assistance with feeding, continence care, toileting, transferring and repositioning, for residents who required assistance for such activities with daily living. The survey documents several instances in which residents were not provided the necessary care for their particular activities with daily living and as a result suffered from overall poor-quality of life in the facility. Moreover, the facility failed in properly administering medications to residents, involving one incident in which the facility failed to administer insulin medication in a manner to prevent an adverse side effect, and another failure to correctly serve a renal diet to a resident receiving hemodialysis.
Similar to one of the findings in the 2017 recertification survey, the 2018 recertification survey found Alden of Waterford failed to provide incontinence care in a manner that would prevent the development of infections and to adequately maintain hygiene. This finding of a repeated failure from a past recertification survey demonstrates Alden of Waterford’s inability to effectively follow and implement its plan of correction. The recertification survey further documented that the facility failed to sanitize dishes and equipment and failed to utilize the proper sanitizing chemical concentration. Failures of this nature are especially alarming within the scope of the current COVID-19 pandemic as such failures are exactly the types that would hinder the facility’s ability to sufficiently combat and prevent the spread of the virus. Continuing with the theme of examining certain failures through the lens of the current pandemic, staff at the facility further failed to wash hands in between glove changes during resident care to prevent cross contamination. Once again, a disturbing failure within the scope of COVID-19 as failing to sufficiently wash hands is a significant accelerant to the transmission of the virus.
The 2019 recertification survey conducted on May 23, 2019, found staff at Alden of Waterford again failed to wash hands and change gloves from dirty to clean while providing resident care to prevent cross contamination. The observation of this specific failure included a staff member not washing their hands in between when moving from the soiled part of the resident’s body to the part of the body that was cleaned. As previously mentioned, failures of this nature in regard to maintaining a sanitary environment raise legitimate concerns as to whether Alden of Waterford is able to sufficiently handle the outbreak of COVID-19. Moreover, the fact that this same failure was documented in the 2018 recertification survey demonstrates Alden of Waterford’s inability to effectively 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 of Waterford 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.”
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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.