Our examination continues of the latest report of Illinois nursing homes that have violated basic resident health, care, and safety laws. Rainbow Beach Car e Center, a nursing home just north of the city in Evanston, recently received several Type “A Violations from the Illinois Department of Public Health and fined $10,000. The violations resulted from the facility’s failure to ensure the proper monitoring of residents with specific mental illnesses and at risk of elopement.
Many residents at the facility have specific care needs and pose specific risks to themselves and others. One group of residents with special mental problems are deemed “elopement risks”-they exhibit behavior that make it more likely that they could attempt to leave the facility unmonitored. These residents are under unique care plans that include special monitoring and check-ins to ensure their safety.
When those policies are not followed severe consequences often result. For example, one mentally ill resident at Rainbow Beach ended up leaving the facility unbeknownst to the caregivers. The resident was gone for over 10 days and traveled over 25 miles. The resident wandered across railroad tracks and burst intersections without supervision. Afterwards the resident was very confused and may have suffered set-backs in his mental health development.
Wandering remains a serious problem at many nursing homes. It is only a matter of luck that the resident did not suffer severe physical harm in this case-others are not that fortunate.