Articles Posted in Illinois Nursing Homes

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An Orland Park widow is suing Spring Creek Nursing and Rehab Center in Joliet over their alleged negligence that led to the death of her husband in April of this year. Dianne Casper, the widow of Edward Casper, said he was just 75 when he entered the facility after having hip surgery. According to the lawsuit, Edward Casper’s record at Spring Creek documented that he was suffering from dementia, ‘increased cognitive impairment,’ as well as at risk for falls.

Excessive Number of Falls Within Two Months

The lawsuit alleges that from his admission date on January 31, 2017 to his death in April, he fell 28 times at the facility. His final fall in early March caused him to fracture his other hip, which resulted in an immediate hospital transfer and surgery. He died one month after that fall.

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An audit by the Inspector General’s Office of Health and Human Services has found that Illinois has the highest number of nursing home neglect, sexual abuse and physical abuse incidents. The report analyzed 2015-2016 emergency room records from hospitals in 33 states and found that among nursing home residents admitted as patients, 134 of them had injuries consistent with physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. Even more alarming is that in nearly 40% of these cases, the incidents were not reported to local authorities, even though a more than 5 year old federal law mandates immediate reporting of injuries consistent with elder abuse.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin quotes the Inspector General’s report as concluding that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “has inadequate procedures to ensure that incidents of potential abuse or neglect of Medicare beneficiaries residing in (nursing homes) are identified and reported.” If Medicare is found guilty of not reporting a known case of nursing home abuse or neglect, federal law allows for a fine of up to $300,000. Despite this deterrent, Medicare has still allowed a shocking number of cases to go unreported to authorities.

Although a statement by CMS says that they are committed to protecting the elderly and investigating all incidents, nursing homes are still able to avoid punishment over allegations of abuse and neglect by falsification of records, intimidation and scare tactics to deter employees from becoming whistleblowers, and saying they’ve removed employees found guilty of infractions. Until there are harsher penalties passed down by CMS onto nursing homes for failure to report these incidents, the cycle is destined to continue.

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Every month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) update their list of nursing homes that have proven to be in dire need of improvement to avoid patient safety events and to hang on to funding from Medicare and Medicaid. The nursing homes, referred to as Special Focus Facilities (SFFs), have all been found to have higher than average numbers of safety violations or deficiencies, including actions that have the ability to cause immediate harm or death to residents. Facilities are only able to graduate from the SFF list by having a clean record during two consecutive inspection visits by CMS.

‘Graduation’ from SFF Not the Same Thing as Giving Better Care

In a report by Kaiser Health News, over half of the 528 facilities that graduated from the SFF list before 2014 have gone on to seriously harm and even kill patients. The report says that the same facilities still have nurse staffing levels at an average of 12% lower than typical resident to nurse ratios that many other nursing homes maintain, a significant difference in an industry where ratios are already at shockingly low levels.

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Michael Morris was just 43 years old when he died from complications that arose from infected tracheostomy and gastrostomy tubes, as well as multiple pressure ulcers. He was a resident of Salem Village Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Joliet, Illinois for just over a year at the time of his death last September.

In a lawsuit filed in Will County, the administrator of his estate alleges that the facility is directly responsible for his death by failing to provide the adequate care required for a resident in Mr. Morris’ condition.

How do Pressure Ulcers Develop?

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The family of a woman who died after suffering from malnourishment, dehydration and a urinary tract infection (UTI) is suing Alton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Alton, Illinois. The lawsuit alleges that before her death in June 2015, Judith Bates was visibly sick and was not sent to a hospital for treatment, despite lowered oxygen saturation, an abnormal heart rate, breathing difficulties, lethargy, low blood pressure, and excessive sweating. She had also lost 42 pounds in less than 6 weeks. By the time she was tested for a UTI on June 24, 2015, Ms. Bates’ condition had deteriorated and she died the next day.

For-Profit Nursing Home Rated Much Below Average

Alton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center is a privately-owned, for-profit nursing home located in the southern Illinois town of Alton. The nursing home is owned by Integrity Healthcare of Alton and according to Nursing Home Compare, the rating system developed and maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the home is rated 1 out of 5 stars. A one star rating is considered much below average. The facility received one star for its health inspection, one star for its staffing practices, and two stars (below average) for quality measures.

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Cahokia Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Cahokia, IL, is yet again defending themselves against a lawsuit filed by the family of a resident. According to the lawsuit, Pauline Purifoy, 86, died in April 2015 from multiorgan failure and septic shock. In the days leading up to her death, Ms. Purifoy was suffering from a painfully severe urinary tract infection that was left untreated. As the pain progressed, Cahokia Nursing & Rehab did not notify Ms. Purifoy’s doctor, instead choosing to treat her on their own. When their efforts didn’t work and Ms. Purifoy was becoming physically and vocally agitated, they resorted to lorazepam, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. The Illinois Department of Public Health made a visit to Cahokia and saw Ms. Purifoy covered in her own urine, feces, and vomit and forced the facility to contact her physician. The physician ordered her to be transferred to a local hospital, during which time she died in the emergency room.

Cahokia Nursing and Rehabilitation on Federal Watch List

Just this past January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released their latest list of Specialty Focus Facilities, those nursing homes that are considered severely deficient and in danger of losing federal funding. We analyzed the list and found 3 Illinois facilities named, one of which was Cahokia Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. Shockingly, Cahokia Nursing & Rehab had just been upgraded to the ‘shown improvement’ category of Special Focus Facilities after a December 2016 visit by CMS.

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Long Term Community Care Coalition (LTCCC) just released its list of over 6,000 U.S. nursing homes with what they’ve termed ‘chronic deficiencies.’ LTCCC considers chronic deficiencies any violation of the same Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulatory standard 3 or more times within 3 years. LTCCC used Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ own Nursing Home Compare database to analyze the infractions.

About LTCCC & Rankings

LTCCC is a non-profit advocacy group that describes itself as ‘dedicated to improving quality of care, quality of life and dignity for elderly and disabled people in nursing homes, assisted living and other residential settings.’ Along with the list of facilities with chronic health deficiencies, LTCCC has also included a spreadsheet of CMS’s star ratings for all the nursing homes found to be deficient. CMS uses a 5 star rating system to give those considering nursing homes an easy way to compare the overall quality of one facility vs. another and uses 5 as the highest indicator of quality and 1 as the lowest.

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A November opinion piece from Crain’s Chicago Business highlights a common practice among nursing homes: Placing elderly residents in the same facility as those with psychiatric disorders and felony convictions. This practice, while not new, has recently come to light after Continental Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Chicago was fined by the Illinois Department of Public Health after five residents overdosed on heroin in just one month.

A Common but Inexcusable Occurrence

Every year, over 2,000 cases of resident-to-resident abuse are alleged in the U.S. alone.

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Nursing homes are supposed to be trusted care providers for our elderly relatives. Sadly, sometimes nursing home neglect leads to injuries and even death. The son of a man who died in a nursing home has filed a lawsuit claiming that the man was not properly supervised or monitored and he suffered injuries that contributed to his death. The lawsuit names Lexington Health Care Center of Elmhurst, Inc. where the man resided.

Standard of Care

Nursing homes and other care facilities are required to provide a standard of care to their patients or residents. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is legislation that is designed to protect nursing home residents from improper or negligent care. It offers standards which must be followed by providers regarding care for their residents. Nursing homes are responsible for the care and supervision that is given to the patients while they live in their facilities.


Neglect is all too common an occurrence in nursing homes. Residents may require a great deal of individualized care, which the nursing home needs to be able to provide. Neglect may include lack of supervision, failure to meet the daily needs of a patient, or inability to assist residents with mobility, among other things. Many times, families or loved ones of the patient may not even be aware that neglect has occurred. There are a number of signs to look for when determining whether nursing home neglect has happened.
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Nursing homes are required to provide proper care to their residents. When they fail to do so, injuries can and do occur. Unfortunately, injuries to the elderly can be very dangerous and can lead to a decline in overall health and contribute to their death. A lawsuit was recently filed against a nursing home alleging negligence in care. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a woman’s estate. The woman died after suffering injuries that ultimately resulted in her death. The plaintiff has retained Levin & Perconti to represent them in the lawsuit against the nursing home. The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $50,000.

Failure to Supervise

Nursing homes and other care facilities are required by law to provide proper care to their residents. They must have staff members available to assist patients with their daily needs which may include eating, toileting, and performing their regular care activities. When patients are bedridden, they require repositioning to avoid the formation of bedsores. In this case, the woman was allegedly not properly supervised and the staff failed to reposition her while in her bed. This caused bedsores, which worsened.

Bedsores are Serious

Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, can be very serious in the elderly. They develop primarily on patients who are unable to move on their own while in bed. As they remain in one position for too long, the bedding continually rubs against the skin in the same place. This rubbing causes a sore to develop. If not attended to, the sore will continue to worsen. Once the skin breaks, the likelihood of infection is very high. Infections such as this can be deadly to older people.
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