Articles Posted in Illinois Nursing Homes

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nursing home surveillance

With Elder Abuse on The Rise, Wisconsin Looks at New Way to Prosecute Offenders

Horrific. Demonic. These are the words some nursing home residents (and their family members) are using to describe their abusers. And if the thought of having your loved one beaten, left without food or resting in dirty linens, being overmedicated, sexually abused, robbed, or neglected is painful to think about, the process to prosecute a guilty party without any physical evidence can be even more gut-wrenching. Because most investigators have only the victim’s statements to go on, police struggle to build cases on just accusations. More so, the most vulnerable nursing home residents, those with cognitive issues or memory diseases, may not be able to speak up or even be aware of the abuse.

As these cases increase every year across the nation, it’s simple to see that getting away with elder abuse is just too easy. Cases remain unresolved because of the lack of evidence needed to prosecute nursing home mistreatment or crime and the trends continue. Illinois, including Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Washington, and Maryland have already passed laws allowing some form of surveillance in nursing homes. In addition, Wisconsin’s Attorney General Brad Schimel recently decided enough-is-enough after county data reported 7,019 complaints in 2016, up 21 percent from just three years earlier. The state has announced a move to stop abuse by gathering reliable evidence for prosecutions via state loaned surveillance cameras to family members, free of charge for 30 days, so they can secretly record staff suspected of abusing their loved ones. This move, which is only the second video surveillance loaner program of its kind in the U.S., the other in New Jersey, has ignited protests by the elderly care industry, providers and privacy advocates.

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nursing home reform delay

Impact of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Decision to Delay Enforcement of Protections For Nursing Home Residents

On May 30 several State Attorneys General, including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, sent a joint complaint to Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Seema Verma, Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and expressed extreme concern over the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) actions to slow regulatory enforcements that support the safety and wellbeing for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who receive care in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In the letter, the Attorneys General are holding CMS responsible for not pushing forward a 2016 series of skilled nursing facility reforms that were set to move out in three future stages. The current administration’s delay will bring major challenges in holding facilities accountable for providing appropriate resident care and well-being.

“We write this letter to express our concern and to alert the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) about the substantial and foreseeable detriment of CMS’ actions to delay enforcement of protections for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who receive care in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The recent CMS guidance significantly decreases the protections in SNFs by rolling back reforms to improve the safety and wellbeing of nursing home residents. If allowed to proceed, recent regulatory changes will not only threaten the mental and physical security of some of the most vulnerable residents of our states, but also potentially create additional challenges for MFCU investigation and prosecution of grievances, violations, and crimes occurring in SNFs. We therefore urge you not to lower the level of regulatory oversight.”

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financial exploitation

Investors Claim Rabbi Stole Millions Out of Chicago Nursing Home Deals

Several investors have come forward alleging a Skokie-based investment firm run by a rabbi, stole more than $20 million in a series of nursing home and retirement home funds around the Chicago suburbs in Norridge, South Holland and Morris, along with one Downstate, one in Indiana and the New Jersey facility. The suit alleges the investors are owed a total of more than $24 million counting interest due on their initial contributions.

According to a May 2018 report by The Real Deal, a publication catering towards Chicago real estate professionals, “a similar lawsuit filed in September in federal court in Chicago that alleges violations of the RICO act … In that suit, the investment firm created a series of LLCs to buy and sell nursing homes and retirement homes across the country, including several in the Chicago area and one in Wayne, New Jersey, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney, Craig Tobin.” Soon after, the firm was found to be keeping profits for themselves and not giving any to the investors and filling their pockets by taking from others who rely on nursing homes to survive. The scheme victimized “a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, school teachers and sophisticated banking institutions,” the suit says. The federal lawsuit seeks more than $20 million in damages.

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nursing home legionnaires disease

Medical Documents Show “Questionable” Record-Keeping Related to Legionnaires’ Disease Victim’s Care and Family’s Concerns Prior To Death

The family of Dolores French, one of the 13 residents of the Illinois Veterans Home who died from the horrific Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in 2015, recently spoke out to WBEZ reporter Dave McKinney after “newly obtained health documents related to her case demonstrated a litany of questionable procedural and record-keeping practices at Illinois’ largest state-run veterans’ home….”

French had only been a resident of the Quincy Veterans Home for six weeks when Adams County Coroner James Keller examined her already decomposing body, possibly of two days, on the floor in her room. Although state officials deny the claim, her family was told her body was not in a condition to be embalmed and an open-casket funeral would not be an option.

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finding the right nursing home care

Online Reviews Provide Easy-to-Read Critiques of Nursing Home Care but Families Must Research and Visit Facilities Prior to Choosing a Facility

On any given day, hundreds of Illinois families are helping choose support for their loved ones from the nearly 1,200 long-term care facilities in the state. While some individuals are in the need of a nursing home for just a few days to rehabilitate from a hospital stay or injury, many will live out their remaining years requiring constant long-term care. With national reviews indicating an abuse rate of 44 percent and a neglect rate of 95 percent of these residents, selecting a nursing home for yourself or a family member must include an in-depth site visit, preferably more than one at different times, and as much time possible discussing and reviewing credible sources. Additionally, as online opportunities to review nursing home care have emerged more frequently, the additional readings of anecdotal stories and experiences shared by residents and their family members, and staff via websites and social platforms can help provide a full scope of the pros and cons of each facility – within reason.

How the Federal Government’s ‘Nursing Home Compare’ Tool Evaluates Care Standards

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nursing home veteran care

Illinois Veterans Release Capital Report Requesting $200+ Million for New Veterans Home

In 2015, the misdiagnoses and poorly managed care of residents with Legionnaires’ disease claimed the lives of 13 residents of a state-run veterans home in Quincy. One in 10 people will die from acquiring Legionnaires’ disease under normal circumstances, but if the disease is contracted from a health care facility, the odds of death jump to one in 4. Since the incident, the Combined Veterans’ Capital Needs Task Force has been working endlessly to prevent a tragedy like this from occurring again and is now demanding the state of Illinois build a $200+ million state-of-the-art skilled nursing care facility to address safe water supply needs. The recommendations come from the Combined Veterans’ Capital Needs Task Force Report released on May 1, 2018 and includes:

  • Building a new, state-of-the art skilled nursing care facility that could house up to 300 residents.
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national health disparity month

April Is National Health Disparities Month

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates nearly two-thirds of individuals who rely on federal and state funding to support their healthcare and long-term care services have multiple chronic conditions. Most of these conditions impact specific racial and ethnic minority communities who have disproportionately been supported with the appropriate diagnosis and treatment needed to thrive. As April marks an opportunity to call attention to these issues under National Health Disparities Month, it’s an important time to start discussion about the significant problems we have in the United States and right here in Illinois, in relation to at-risk populations who receive Medicare or Medical Assistance to treat chronic diseases. These groups are currently battling greater morbidity, mortality, and disability rates as a result of their long-term care coverage.

According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare and Medical Assistance (Illinois’ name for Medicaid) populations that experience disproportionately high burdens of disease are provided worse quality of care, and barriers to accessing long-term care than others. CMS officials say, “these populations include racial and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, persons with disabilities, as well as individuals living in rural areas.”

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Understaffing

Nursing Homes with Serious Deficiencies Are Often Poorly Staffed

An analysis of data from Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website concluded that nurses and support care staff such as nursing assistants and aides are grossly understaffed at some of the most troubled homes in Illinois. This proves something the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Levin & Perconti know all too well. Understaffed care facilities put unnecessary pressures on employees that often lead to mistakes, injuries, and deaths of nursing home residents in their charge. And although we hear of changes in administrative staff, and fines aimed to tighten and clarify procedures as a solution to the issue, many of these poor performing homes continue to receive their funding, remain understaffed and contribute to more cases of nursing home abuse and neglect than facilities that are equipped to provide sufficient care and services.

The Factors Behind Understaffing

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The story is one of the most tragic our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys have heard in years. A series of horrifying acts of neglect on behalf of Aperion Care Moline resulted in the August strangulation death of a male resident. Multiple distress calls were made by the man’s roommate when he realized the now-deceased was entangled in the straps of his nightgown after they had become wrapped around the foot of his bed. It took nearly 20 minutes before a CNA finally arrived. Upon arrival, the CNA noticed the man had turned blue and was not breathing. Instead of offering immediate care to the strangled victim, Aperion Care Moline nursing staff wasted precious time attempting to figure out if the victim had a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. He did not. According to an Illinois Department of Health investigation, the CNA rolled the man on his side and allegedly did not perform CPR because he was vomiting. By the time emergency medical personnel arrived, the patient was gone.

Upon learning of the incident this morning, Levin & Perconti spoke about the Aperion Care Moline strangulation death with a national CPR expert who teaches CPR to physicians, nurses, CNAs and laypeople across the country. Current CPR teaching indicates that in the event of vomiting, you must turn a patient’s head to clear their airway and once clear, begin CPR if the patient is not breathing. Vomiting is NOT cause to rule out CPR. It has also been reported that not all Aperion Care Moline CNAs were trained in CPR and that the facility did not have a fully stocked crash cart, missing both portable suction equipment and supplies needed to give an IV.

Levin & Perconti: Top Illinois Attorneys for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

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A former nurse at Christian Living Communities and Hearthstone Communities in Woodstock, IL is suing for her job back. The nurse, Juana Walsh, alleges that the nursing home fired her after she acted as a whistleblower by reporting resident abuse to management and the family of the victim. In November 2016, Ms. Walsh went to conduct a routine check on a male resident. The resident was upset and told Ms. Walsh that a male nursing assistant yelled at him and had been physically aggressive while adjusting his pillow. Ms. Walsh reported the incident to her supervisor and the director of human resources for the facility. A social worker was sent to speak with the victim and later reported that he was just confused. Days later, Ms. Walsh gave a written summary of the incident to the victim’s brother. As a result, she was fired and told that she jeopardized the reputation of the facility. She is asking for her job back and for income lost as a result of her termination.

Illinois Whistleblower Act & Illinois Nursing Home Care Act

It is surprising how often we hear stories of nursing home employees being terminated for reporting nursing home abuse and neglect. Legally, nurses, CNAs, and other nursing home employees have protection under the law for reporting abuse to their superiors or to authorities. Firing someone for reporting abuse is referred to as retaliation and is punishable under the Illinois Whistleblower Act and the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Both laws forbid employers from doing anything that punishes an employee for coming forward with proof or suspicions of abuse or neglect and gives the employee the right to pursue civil action that may include obtaining their former job, backpay, and payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and associated legal costs.