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Another Sad Story – Abuse and Neglect at Illinois Nursing Home

In another tale of unfortunate and sad happenings at nursing homes, a nursing home staffer working at a facility in Quincy, called Sycamore Healthcare, was arrested on allegations of beating a 64 year old patient at that facility. According to reports, the patient suffered head injuries after the staffer allegedly struck him in the face. The Quincy Police Department investigated and arrested the staffer, charging him with Aggravated Battery to a Disabled Person.

IDPH Investigation

The Illinois Department of Public Health also investigated the matter, demonstrating how in addition to a serious criminal case, this is also a case of concern to state authorities, and specifically state health authorities that govern nursing homes and long term care facilities. Sycamore Healthcare itself, according to public records, has had a relatively clean history in the last year or so. The last known citation occurred in the 3rd quarter of 2013. A survey of Sycamore Healthcare in Quincy as of August 1, 2013, resulted in citations of Type A violations under 6 different subsections of the relevant state code, as well as Type B violations under 2 more subsections. The total fines resulting from the Type A violations and Type B violations was $25,000, which had been doubled as required under the law for certain specific types of Type A violations that amounted to what were particularly high risk activities. Another August 1, 2013 report for that same 3rd quarter of 2013 filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also showed that Sycamore had a particularly high risk for falls by patients.

As one can imagine a fall can result in any number of injuries to and part of the body, and could include broken bones, cuts, burns, scars, concussions and other injuries. As the report states, the nursing home failed to take appropriate measures to prevent patient falls, such as when a nurse removed the side rails of a patient’s bed after determining they were restraining the patient, only for the patient to then fall from his or her bed, sustaining a head injury and then dying as a result. This patient who had severe cognitive impairment was found to have a dark purple bruise on their chin and a finger, presumably from a fall. Just before all this, the patient was found to have injuries to the foot and ankle after that patient’s foot was stuck in a bed side rail overnight, and one particular registered nurse told the nursing assistance who discovered this that in spite of redness and swelling of the foot, that no report needed to be filed because there did not appear to be an injury. Thus the discovery of that patient’s stuck foot was never even reported.

There were additional details on the injuries to the Sycamore patient in the latter half of 2013, although since then there had not been any negative reports found in the public record until the news of the Sycamore staffer who beat a patient resident. For those concerned with abuse, it is vital to carefully assess the history and record of a nursing home, and where abuse or neglect is suspected, it should be reported. Criminal behavior in particular should never go unpunished, and a victim and their families should always know what their legal rights are with regard to the abusive staffer and the facility in general when such an incident happens by contacting a competent lawyer in the field.

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