Articles Posted in Alden Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

This blog has been filled with many reports on the shocking treatment of residents at the Alden Village North nursing home. The facility houses around 90 disabled children (and some adults) who suffer from severe mental and physical disabilities. The home has been the subject of recent investigations for mismanagement and improper treatment. In particular, a high number of children have died in recent years at the location from questionable practices by staff members.

An investigation by the Chicago Tribune uncovered a 10-year pattern of care violations, injury, and death. Since 2000, 13 children have died at the facility in ways that the state confirmed involved care citations (seven of those occurring in the last two years alone). Those figures also do not take into account at least 11 other resident deaths that did not trigger state intervention.

After years of problems, the facility is finally making changes that all observers hope will lead to better care for the children living at the home. A complete overhaul is obviously necessary to begin fixing the egregious problems. One advocate explained, “This is sort of what you would do in a situation when things aren’t just problematic, but problematic down to the core.”

Administrators at the facility claim that they have worked to correct past problems. Those changes involve hiring more staff members while creating a new liaison position to handle complaints. The group is also attempting to improve basic hygiene, as children had previously been sent to school in soiled clothes.
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The tragic events at the Alden Village North nursing home in Chicago have made headlines beyond the city. Now a federal probe will begin to more fully understand the causes of the problems at the children’s nursing home according to a recent story by the Chicago Tribune.

Recent investigations revealed a shocking pattern of abuse and neglect at the facility that houses children with disabilities. Several children at the home have died in recent years, and many of those deaths were never thoroughly investigated. Since 2000, thirteen children have died in cases resulting in state citations for either neglect or failure to investigate.

A local advocacy group, Equip for Equality has authority to obtain medical records from the facility. The group intends to do use that power to determine how often neglect was at the root of many of the recent deaths.

At the same time, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has decided to remove two residents from the facility over concerns about the facility’s ability to provide the proper care. Only very rarely has the state department taken this sort of step. Governor Pat Quinn has already placed a state monitor in the facility and is seeking specific legislative reform related to the care of these children.
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Nursing home abuse almost always conjures images of senior citizens suffering at the hands ineffective and dangerous staff members or fellow residents. However, in reality, abuse at these facilities occurs in many forms and includes many types of victims, even children. In particular, many children with developmental disabilities currently live in nursing homes, and they often fall victim to deadly inadequate care.

One of the most tragic cases of abuse of children at these facilities occurred in Chicago at Alden Village North. As Lawyers and Settlements reports, over that last 10 years, 13 children have died at the nursing home.

Many of the facilities’ problems stem from its drive for profits, leading to staffing shortages and loose internal regulations. For example, two 4-year olds died in a three week period after suffering breathing problems. Alden Village staff members were supposed to have heard the nursing alert sounds that were activated throughout the facility to warn of the breathing problem, but they didn’t anything. Some of the alarms were incorrectly installed; other had the volume turned down so low that they were virtually worthless.

The Illinois Department of Health has issued over $190,000 in fines against the facility over the years, but the nursing home has only paid about $21,000 of those fines. In addition, currently regulations do not even require the facility to investigate the deaths of children at its homes. Clearly the current public law and regulatory agency rules are insufficient to fix the problems at Alden-private actions against these negligent facilities are required.
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It seems that all too often we hear of tragic incidents occurring at Nursing Homes. Today, the Chicago Tribune published an article regarding Alden Village North noting that over the past ten years, Alden has been cited thirteen times for violations in connection to the deaths of its patients.

It is unreasonable to believe that any facility can be perfect in their care, but the types of nursing home neglect that Alden has shown is, in our opinion, inexcusable. The law firm of Levin & Perconti has handled a significant number of cases against Alden for their negligent treatment and care of patients. When negligence occurs, it is important for a facility to investigate the source and correct any problems to mitigate these types of incidents. Alden has been neglecting this part of their duty.

A one-year-old Alden Village North resident who suffered from severe Down syndrome was found in his room “unresponsive and blue” about forty-five minutes after having been fed. There was no one in the room when the child died, and as such Alden was responsible to investigate the cause of the child’s death. In a state investigation, it was found that there was no evidence that the facility reviewed whether proper supervision was provided. The facility was also cited for being understaffed and for not reporting his death to the state health department.

The nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti have handled all types of abuse and neglect lawsuits against Alden nursing homes throughout Illinois for many years. Today’s Chicago Tribune tells the story of at least thirteen children in the Chicago area who fell victim to abuse and neglect at Alden Village North, a nursing home located at 7464 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago.

The Tribune’s article exposes the sad truth that abuse and neglect not only happens to the elderly living in Illinois nursing homes, but also to younger residents who require ongoing medical treatment that they cannot receive at home. Parents and family members place their trust with nursing home staff to care for their loved ones, but unfortunately neglect and abuse occur, often due to negligent hiring and short-staffing. One of the victims in the Tribune article was just two years old when he died of asphyxiation because staff at the facility failed to properly monitor his tracheotomy tube for over 3.5 hours. The child had a habit of playing with the tube but staff did nothing to prevent this behavior and did not notify his physician of his actions.

In another sad case, a nine-year-old boy who suffered from severe cognitive deficits died due to nursing home neglect. Staff failed to properly care for his g-tube, failed to notice a change in his condition and failed to communicate these changes to his doctor. As a result, he died from bowel obstruction and an infection at a local hospital.
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is reporting that they are now notifying those nursing homes who are candidates to become Special Focus Facilities (SFF). SFFs are chosen from among the 15 worst-scoring nursing home in each individual state. Those who chose SFFs analyze the Five-Star Quality Nursing Home Rating System in order to choose which homes make the list. Once a home is chosen as an SFF it is subject to extra inspections and increased enforcement.

The NCCNHR is reporting that of the 355 nursing homes in the SFF program since January of 2005, 51 percent graduated. This means that they had two consecutive standard surveys and no complaint investigations. However, this also shows that almost half of the nursing homes failed to improve. They will continue to remain in the program designed to curb nursing home neglect and abuse. The GAO discovered that SFFs were more likely to be for-profit nursing homes who were affiliated with chain owners.

The SFFs are sorted into different categories by the CMS. One such category is facilities that have not improved. Currently, Illinois has one nursing home in this list, Embassy Health Care Center in Wilmington, Illinois. There is also a category for facilities that are beginning to show improvement. Two Chicago nursing homes are in this SFF category. Both Alden Wentworth Rehab & Healthcare Center and International Nursing And Rehab Center are located on the city’s south side. Additionally, Pekin Manor in Pekin, Illinois is identified as an SFF. To locate more nursing homes that have been designated as SFFs, please click the link.

A notice of a $30,000 fine and a Type A violation were issued to Alden Wentworth nursing home for the death of a resident who jumped from a third floor window and died. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health report, the nursing home failed to ensure that the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Unit was staffed with adequate numbers of trained staff and that staff understood methods to control the resident’s wandering behaviors and attempts to elope from the facility. Click on the link to access the report for this Alden Wentworth violation.

Alden Village North, a nursing home in Chicago, was sent a notice on August 31, 2009 of a Type A violation by the Illinois Department of Public Health and a notice of a $35,000 fine. The violation report findings stated that a boy under the nursing home’s care died of sepsis and bowel obstruction. The report states that the nursing home staff failed to provide written documentation including nursing assessments and notifications to his physician despite a change in his condition. Read the full violation report for Alden Village North.

The Illinois Department of Public Health gave Alden Princeton nursing home in Chicago notice of a Type A violation on July 31, 2009. According to the IDPH report, the nursing home failed to make sure that a resident received dialysis for five days. The nursing home home also failed to report that the resident missed dialysis to the his doctor, putting him at high risk for a fatal condition. Access a copy of the IDPH report on Alden Princeton by following the link.

There was a short period when nursing home care was improving. However, reports that bad behavior is returning to the nursing home business. Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer Steven Levin was quoted on the website stating that, “Unfortunately, conditions for nursing residents are once again on the decline.” He stated that there is an epidemic of nursing homes with untrained, insufficient staff and transient staff. Attorney Levin, whose firm handles hundreds of cases of nursing home neglect, stated that profits are being made at the expense of patient care. “Nursing homes are simply unable to care for residents and nursing homes are knowingly admitting residents they know they can’t look after,” Levin adds. “Sometimes doctors or lawyers are negligent and make mistakes, but what nursing home operators are doing is institutionalized neglect.” Levin & Perconti has recently filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against Alden Northmoor Rehabilitation Care Center in Chicago on behalf of a 77-year-old woman with dementia, knowingly propensity to wander and swallow unusual objects. While at Alden Northmoor, the victim swallowed a rubber glove twice and had to undergo bowel surgery to have the glove removed. Attorney Levin stated that it is amazing that the staff would allow something like this to happen twice. Levin & Perconti has filed suit under the Illinois Nursing Home Act, which states that every resident of a nursing home has the right to be free of neglect. Levin believes that nursing homes have corporately structured themselves so as to be essentially “judgment” proof. He believes that since many nursing homes carry no liability insurance they solicit residents without knowing how to care for them. Levin hopes that a new law will require nursing homes to carry $1 million in liability insurance. To read more about nursing home negligence, please click the link.

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