Articles Posted in Illinois Nursing Homes

nursing home neglect attorneys

New Study Shows Majority of Nation’s Nursing Homes Fail to Meet RN Staffing Requirements

Harvard and Vanderbilt medical schools recently put researchers to the task of examining payroll records from over 15,000 U.S. nursing homes, revealing the staggering truth about registered nurse (RN) staffing. Three-fourths of the nation’s nursing homes never meet federal staffing expectations for registered nurse staffing, and RNs are missing from such facilities on the weekends.

Health Affairs published the study in its July issue in which co-author David Grabowski, a professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard, said that the conclusions based on a year’s worth of newly logged payroll data, could present much more significant issues in elder care today and well into the future.

nursing home abuse whistleblower

Skilled Nursing Facility Employees Can Report Abuse and Neglect

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed potential abuse and neglect claims of more than 34,820 Medicare beneficiaries who were residing in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in 2016 and sent to the emergency room. The OIG released its findings in June of 2019 concluding that about one in five potential cases of abuse of elders or neglect were never reported to state inspection agencies, even though it’s a federal requirement for them to do so.

Here is a closer look at what the OIG report had to say:

resident violence

Nursing Home Blames “Limited Resources” for Multiple Acts of Resident-on-Resident Violence

A facility located in Aurora, Colorado and operated by Renew, First Phoenix-Aurora of Wisconsin, and Peregrine Administration of Colorado is again at the center of a violent resident-on-resident legal case involving a 92-year-old resident who was found beaten by another individual who she shared the facility with. According to reports of the lawsuit, the woman with dementia was sitting in her wheelchair, in a hallway, when the assault occurred and now suffers from anxiety and other recurring medical complications. Attorneys are seeking more than $100,000 in damages for the injured woman and her family.

The victim was failed by staff and administrators who say they don’t have the resources to keep a known violent resident, who continues to harm others, away from those who live there. Many of Renew’s residents are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and not able to speak up or acknowledge the abuse for themselves and remain dependent on others to keep them safe and protected from such abuse.

elderly wandering risks

Hot Weather Poses Extra Health Risks for Nursing Home Residents

Even for residents who are sedentary, spending time outdoors or active indoors in small amounts can help decrease recovery times and promote independence. However, during the summer months when temperatures sometimes skyrocket into the dangerous digits, elderly who travel outdoors or are without the appropriate indoor cooling areas, can become especially at risk and negatively react to high-temperature exposures.

Because aging and certain medications can complicate the body’s ability to regulate temperatures, problems such as dehydration, fluid retention, heat stress, and heat stroke, and cardiac-related events leading to death may present more often.

nursing home workers

National Safety Month: Care Workers Have Right to Safe Workplace 

June is celebrated as National Safety Month. As we emphasize the safety of nursing home residents on the blog each week, this also feels like an excellent opportunity to talk about the struggles nursing home employees can face when overexerted, working on demanding schedules with less staff and performing care duties for violent residents who require greater services. These workers can also become too easily hurt by excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, and pulling while caring for residents because of a lack in injury prevention training and poor enforcement of safe workplace policies.

Nursing homes must follow OSHA standards and provide workers with an environment that does not have any known hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury. Some of the frequent complaints nursing home workers have of the safety and injury risks related to their job include:

elderly medical care

National Survey Evidence Shows Behavioral Health Services Inadequate in Most U.S. Nursing Homes

Researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine started surveying randomly selected skilled nursing facilities in 2017, asking questions about the types of behavioral health issues residents have, available behavioral health services, quality, satisfaction, staffing, staff education, turnover and service barriers. Now complete, the results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society on June 5, 2019 and show that mental health disorders can affect up to 90 percent of nursing home residents in as many as a third of the nation’s nursing homes and community-based care facilities.

In this first review of its kind, researchers measured four different outcomes:

nursing home abuse and neglect

CMS Will Publicly Post All Names of Most Concerning Care Facilities

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reacting to the highly publicized release of U.S. Senators Bob Casey’s (D-PA) and Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) report titled, Families’ and Residents’ Rights to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes, by announcing it will soon disclose all of the names of care facility candidates in the agency’s Special Focus Facility (SFF) program. SFFs have a “persistent record of poor care” and were previously not available for the public to review. Some lawmakers and resident advocates even called the list a “scary secret” kept from the public to protect nursing home owners and their reputations.

The Pennsylvania lawmakers list included only 400+ facilities, 22 of which are located throughout Illinois, but there are almost 3,000 nursing homes that have a one-star rating on their health inspections, the worst ranking possible. With only 88 SFF program slots funded that likely leaves so many additional poor performing candidates for the program to publicly acknowledge. 

nursing home neglect

Falls Remain Leading Cause of Injury-Related Deaths for Older Adults and Understaffed Nursing Homes Could Be to Blame

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among persons aged 65 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the age-adjusted rate of deaths from falls is increasing as well. Ironically, as many as 75 percent of nursing facility residents are reported falling each year and carry twice the chances of falling compared to a senior who lives in their own home or community.

For elderly patients living in care facilities, hazards that contribute to fall injuries can include:

illinois nursing home attorneys

List of 22 Seriously Under-Performing Nursing Homes in Illinois Released Publicly for First Time 

After an inquiry led by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program, overseen by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), shared a list of nearly 400 consistently underperforming nursing homes, 22 of which are located throughout Illinois. Previously CMS did not publicly disclose the names and locations of these SFF identified facilities. These are nursing homes that if not improved or fail to provide resolutions to documented quality problems, can be cut off by Medicare and Medicaid funding and support.

On June 3, 2019, the concerned lawmakers published the list in a public report titled, Families’ and Residents’ Rights to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes, and included all of the homes CMS has deemed to have a “persistent record of poor care” and systemic shortcomings.

retirement home

Nursing Homes With “No Harm” Deficiencies Are Not Being Held Accountable

Nationwide, a majority of nursing homes voluntarily participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Because of this partnership, facilities must adhere to minimum standards of care established by the federal Nursing Home Reform Law. Those who do not comply, should receive health violations leading to various penalties including fines or in some of the most severe cases, a group’s Medicare or Medicaid certification will be suspended or revoked by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

CMS data indicates that about 95 percent of these health violations are cited as causing “no harm” to residents. In a May 2019 newsletter published by the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC) several examples of these “no harm” deficiencies, taken from Statements of Deficiencies (SoDs) on Nursing Home Compare, were discussed. Surveyors classified all of the shortcomings listed below as “no harm,” meaning that they determined that residents were neither hurt nor put into immediate jeopardy for their health or well-being.

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