Articles Posted in Illinois Nursing Homes

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:

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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.

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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.

nursing home neglect

Negligence Led to Fall and Untimely Death of Cook County Nursing Home Resident

Pamela Dimo and Margaret P. Battersby Black of Levin & Perconti are representing a woman suing an assisted living facility alleging that an elderly resident was caused to fall and subsequently die due to negligence. The estate of Sarah Robinson filed the complaint on March 29 in the Cook County Circuit Court against Parkshore Estates Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC dba Parkshore Estates Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, infinity Healthcare Management of Illinois LLC, Paulette Alexander RN, Thomeka Brown, Juanita Davis LPN and Aishia Shipp LPN, Abigail Sullivan RD, Tijuana Haywood RN and Rachael Nnabuo RN.

According to the complaint:

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IDPH Releases First Report of The Year Listing Nursing Home Violators

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released its first Quarterly Report of Nursing Home Violators for 2019. This report dates January 2019 thru March 2019 and highlights Illinois facilities cited for violations of the Nursing Home Care Act, a statute that provides nursing home residents and their families with the assurance that proper and safe care will be received.

Facilities with violations in quarter one of 2019 include:

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The Problem with Easing Regulations That Protect Nursing Home Residents

Several new policies were created to safeguard residents in 2014 setting nursing homes up for better accountability, such as fining violating nursing homes each day until problems were fixed and publicly exposing a facility when residents report care complaints. But since 2016, regulation on the rules nursing homes have to follow in order to collect Medicare or Medicaid dollars has seen a risky overhaul, marking the new administration responsible for the removal of several health and safety regulations essential to protecting residents.

These rules were intended to dictate how nursing homes operate, and the group’s inspections and surveys are designed to spur change and compliance through Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS is the federal agency tasked with the oversight and regulation of over 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. In August 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an alert that CMS has inadequate procedures to identify and report incidents of abuse or neglect to law enforcement.

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Majority of Nursing Home Residents Spend Their Time Inactive, Increasing Chances for Chronic Diseases and Injuries

Too many individuals who reside in nursing home facilities are spending their days – sitting. A typical daily schedule for residents will only include light to moderate intensity activities 20 percent of the time and they will remain sedentary the other 80 percent, according to a February 16, 2019 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. An extremely sedentary lifestyle, especially for those who are already battling health issues, only creates a stronger connection to the development or progression of chronic diseases and disabling conditions such as:

  • Anxiety

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New Research Points to Music as Easy Form of Resident Therapy

Nursing home staff who make the time and administrators who devote the resources to helping residents recover from an injury or deal with an illness through something as simple as listening to music are on the right track says researchers at John Hopkins University. Leaders at one of the nation’s top-ranked hospitals have started music therapy sessions focused on the unique therapy needs of patients. After several months, staff evaluated the music routines and observed nursing home residents with debilitating memory diseases like Alzheimer’s associate certain music patterns as a cue to perform daily activities such as getting out of bed, eating, and even showering. These are all acts the residents were not able to perform previous to the music therapy.

The music playlists are designed to minimize distraction and increase productivity and played to balance the mind. Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests listening to music does the same thing for a brain as going to the gym does for a body and that listening to music can reduce pain, anxiety, and blood pressure as well as improve mood, ease tension, and increase memory. The movement to music also helps with coordination and increases relaxation.

nursing home fungus infection

Chicago-Area Attorney Steve Levin Comments on Deadly Fungus Outbreak Occurring in Illinois

Both The New York Times and Chicago Tribune recently reported a drug resistant super fungus called Candida auris, is plaguing 50 percent of Chicago-area nursing homes. This is a germ the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has deemed an urgent threat and is tricky to kill even with hospital grade disinfectants. The fungus, which is a yeast, is most noticeably found throughout patient rooms, on the skin of patients, and on daily medical devices such as blood pressure cuffs and medication containers. The most serious cases of infection from the fungus often occur in skilled nursing facilities that care for ventilated patients, or in long-term acute care settings.

“This is unacceptable,” says attorney Steve Levin, founder and senior partner of Levin & Perconti in Chicago. “We don’t know which nursing homes have been impacted yet – and, given the lengths that long-term care facilities’ corporate owners will go to in order to keep secret the dangerous conditions and poor care behind their closed doors – we might never know.”

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