Articles Posted in Illinois Nursing Homes

drug abuse

7 Antipsychotic Drugs Used and Abused by Illinois Nursing Homes

Antipsychotic drugs are sometimes given to patients living in nursing homes to calm their behaviors. But some of the most sensitive nursing home patients may be receiving antipsychotic drugs, even though there is no diagnosis of psychosis. For decades, this has been a growing problem for U.S. nursing homes and staff continue to wrongfully use the powerful medications in hopes to make their jobs easier. The misuse of these dangerous drugs is also known as a chemical restraint.

These are seven of the most widely used antipsychotic drugs abused by Illinois nursing homes today.

Happy Nursing Home Resident

Illinois Lawmaker Introduces Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act

On December 5, 2019, U.S. Representatives Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act. This legislation would prohibit long-term care facilities from requiring or soliciting residents to enter into pre-dispute, mandatory, binding arbitration agreements. The Obama administration banned forced arbitration by nursing homes in 2016, but the Medicare and Medicaid Division stripped the rights from residents on July 16, 2019, by overturning the ban.

Long-term care residents should never be forced, pressured, threatened, or have it suggested they waive their right to court proceedings before a dispute even arises. And at Levin & Perconti, we applaud these lawmakers, especially Illinois Congresswoman Schakowsky, in seeking ways to reintroduce forced arbitration protections that support the legal rights and well-being of elderly Americans. These are our most vulnerable citizens who are being impacted by the nation’s abuse and neglect epidemic running ramped in U.S. nursing homes each day. Residents deserve their day in court should they become injured, ill, or fatally harmed due to someone else’s negligence.

Empty Wheelchair

Nursing Home Resident Evictions Continue Due to Medicaid Funding

Nationally, long-term care ombudsmen, who advocate for elderly and disabled residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, received 10,610 complaints about discharges and transfers in 2017, up from 9,192 in 2015. Many of these complaints arise when a facility asks or pressures a resident to leave with “no due process rights, no notice” even though an advanced notice is required.

We agree with the importance of the recent news report by NBC launched over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, that some nursing home facilities illegally evict residents when their Medicaid funding runs short and replace them with short-stay Medicare residents. Still, unfortunately, skilled nursing facilities that discharge residents improperly isn’t anything new to us at Levin & Perconti. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates, “as many as one-third of all residents in long-term care facilities are involuntarily discharged.” We have been sharing concerns and representing families on this issue for some time.

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Your Holiday Nursing Home Visit Could Be Lifesaving

During the busy holiday season, an already understaffed nursing home care team becomes even more limited, leaving many needs of nursing home residents to go unmet. For the workers who are on staff, they become stressed and easily overwhelmed, creating a rise in the number of incidences of neglect and abuse of residents. This season, we encourage the family and friends of those residing in skilled nursing facilities to make it a priority to visit frequently and unexpectedly check-in on those responsible for providing care. Even a weekly call or stop during this time may be enough to ensure the quality in the services you expect for your mother, father, sister or grandparent is being met.

Unfortunately, even substandard care is sometimes coated, and dangerous abuse and neglect symptoms are hard first to recognize. During your visits, be sure to look for these troublesome signs of maltreatment provided by the Nursing Home Abuse Center. Be sure to report any findings or concerns you have immediately.

Levin Perconti - horrified senior citizens

Government Site Has New Way of Warning Families of Nursing Home Mistreatment and Neglect

The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti keep close eyes on how the federal government is using Nursing Home Compare, a website used by the public to search and compare facilities nationwide. In October, it was announced by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that the site has started flagging nursing homes with a history of resident mistreatment.

In a special report published by The Washington Post on November 19, 2019, the new flagging system which uses a red circle with a white hand inside, showcases as many as one in 20 elder-care facilities across the U.S. responsible for resident abuse or neglect. The data comes from government investigators’ reports which identified evidence related to the harm or potential harm of a resident.

Proper Care

Recent Inspection Report Shows Grove of Evanston Still Underperforming

Last year, The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) slapped the Grove of Evanston, 500 Asbury St., with a $25,000 fine for a Type A violation where “there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result, or has resulted.” According to news sources and IDPH officials, the nursing home violated the terms of its license when it failed to assess a resident and notify a doctor of his declining condition. IDPH said the failure resulted in the resident being sent to a local hospital where he died less than 24 hours later.

Public health officials reviewed the resident’s records and recently released the report findings to show:

In the November 12 post, “No ‘Costs’ Uncovered: The Appellate Court’s Expansive Redefinition of ‘Costs,” Tara Kuchar asserts that in Grauer v. Clare Oaks, et al, 2019 IL App (1st) 180835, the prevailing argument over what constitutes a “cost” under the fee-shifting provision of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is “flawed” because it is overly broad.

We strongly disagree. The effectiveness of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act hinges on the legislation’s directive that nursing homes found to violate a resident’s rights “shall pay the actual damages and costs and attorney’s fees” to the plaintiff when he or she prevails in court. This provision frees residents from financial concerns when making the decision to bring a case against a powerful institution that has done them harm. And it ensures their access to legal representation. An accurate interpretation of the cost-shifting provision is crucial to implementing the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act as legislators intended.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act empowers citizens to hire private attorneys who serve the attorney general-like function of policing nursing homes that provide substandard care. It is not unusual for a nursing home case to cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to prosecute through completion. The state lacks the resources to police these homes, and private citizens would be unwilling and unable to do so without private attorneys who know they can recoup these costs if they are successful.

Poor Nursing Home Care

71 Illinois Nursing Homes Named in Third Quarter Violation Report

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released its Third Quarter Report of Nursing Home Violators for 2019. IDPH is responsible for ensuring nursing homes comply fully with mandatory state regulations. This report dates July 2019 thru September 2019. It highlights 71 Illinois facilities cited for various 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.

Violations, no matter how small in detail, should be taken seriously, especially since history proves a majority of these facilities will become repeat and more serious offenders. Besides, several of those cited this quarter are large facilities that choose to overwork, underpay, and overburden staff. Leaving these workers with too little of resources and too many residents to care for is a clear sign that abuse and neglect of residents is present.

Margeret Black

Catching up with Levin & Perconti Attorney Margaret Battersby Black, 40 Under 40’s Class of 2011.

Levin & Perconti’s Margaret Battersby Black was named to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s 40 Under 40 List in 2011. 40 Under 40 is a highly selective honor process that recognizes outstanding attorneys from across Illinois. Since then, she has posted a series of high-profile, professional achievements that we wish to recognize.

The 39-year-old plaintiff’s attorney, who is also the parent of two young children alongside her husband Jeff, joined Levin & Perconti as a law clerk in 2006, was promoted to associate attorney in 2008 and named Partner in 2014. Margaret has since led a run of successful personal injury cases, as well as notable settlements involving falls, pressure sores and medication errors on behalf of individuals and families in lawsuits related to nursing home abuse and negligence, including but not limited to:

nursing home danger sign

How to Find Out If Your Parent’s Nursing Home Has a History of Abuse or Neglect?

Choosing a long-term care facility for your parent can feel completely overwhelming and the decision-making process is often stressful on the entire family. Thankfully, beginning October 23, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is making a much-needed change to how families can be better informed of Illinois nursing homes that have been cited for violations related to abuse, neglect and exploitation. The Nursing Home Compare tool will now include a bright red “abuse icon” next to these troublesome homes.

If you’ve already got a particular facility in mind, or have a loved one who is currently a nursing home resident, you can also use the medicare.gov site to look more closely at your choice or to check into any concerns or suspicions.

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