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Social workers, residents and advocates filled a hearing room to demand that Illinois stop using nursing homes to house younger adults with mental illness, including felons who police say assaulted, raped and even killed elderly and disabled housemates. The panel members heard a cascade of criticism and questions about the state’s decades-long pattern of channeling younger, mentally ill felons into facilitates that house geriatric and disabled residents. Illinois needs to stop institutionalizing people in nursing homes who are only there because of a mental illness. Currently Illinois houses about 15,000 people whose primary diagnosis is a mental illness. It is estimated that roughly 10,000 mentally ill residents could be moved into less institutional settings within five years if the state moved numbers around in the budget. Under Illinois law, all incoming nursing home residents are given a criminal background check and assessed for the risk they pose to other residents if felonies are discovered. However, these screenings can take too long and residents are at risk for nursing home abuse in the meantime. To read more about the nursing home hearing, please click the link.

According to the Government Accountability Office almost 4 percent of the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes could be considered “the most poorly performing” of standards of nursing homes. The most poorly performing home’s tended to be chain-affiliated, for-profit and have more beds and residents. To identify the worst homes in the nation, GAO applied CMS’s Special Focus Facilities methodology on a nationwide basis and made refinements to the methodology that “strengthened” GAO’s estimate. The most poorly performing nursing homes had notably more deficiencies. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has identified that four Illinois nursing homes are Special Focus Facilities that include:

Pekin Manor in Pekin, Illinois Shawnee Rose Care Center in Harrisburg, Illinois Embassy Health Care Centre in Wilmington, Illinois International Village in Chicago, Illinois
To read more about the nursing home study, please visit the NCCNHR’s website.

In April of 2009, Levin & Perconti discussed the death of a nursing home resident in the village of Burnham, located in the southern suburb of Chicago. This death may have been the resident of nursing home abuse. The victim died on April 1 from injuries he sustained during an altercation, which may have been at the home. A further autopsy revealed that the man died from multiple person injuries he sustained during the attack. To read about this nursing home abuse, please click the link.

The Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers at Levin & Perconti have represented victims of poor care at Burnham Terrace in the past. If you believe a loved one has suffered injury or death as a result of nursing home negligence at Burnham Terrance, contact our offices at 312-332-2872 for a free consultation with an experienced Chicago nursing home lawyer.

While Cynthia and Earl Wade look through a photo album, they remember their mother who was rushed to an emergency room less than 10 days into her stay at the International Nursing and Rehab Center. Their mother had explicit instructions on her medical chart not to administer dialysis through her left arm. However, the nurse ignored these explicit directions and inserted a needle into her left arm, sending her to the nursing home. Unfortunately, Luzella Wade could not recover from her injuries, and wrongfully died. Her attorney Steven Levin filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family in Cook County for the wrongful death of their mother. However, the story goes deeper, when the Chicago Reporter investigations revealed that this type of nursing home negligence occurs more in black nursing homes than those in white. In fact, Illinois has the highest number of poorly rated black nursing homes nationwide. Additionally nearly 85 percent of black nursing homes got the lowest rating for nurse staffing. To read more about the inadequacies in nursing homes, please read the Chicago Reporter.

The wrongful death of an 85-year-old Chicago nursing home resident launched an investigation by The Chicago Reporter to determine the qualities of nursing homes throughout Illinois. The investigation found that the specific South Side nursing home has the worst rating that any home can receive and that residents get less than half the time each day with staff than residents at a predominately white facility in Evanston which is operated by the same owner. If this nursing home negligence lawsuit is filed, it will be the 14th in Cook County court against the Alden nursing homes between 2004 and 2009. That’s more than three times the elderly neglect lawsuits than half of the city’s 91 nursing homes, with the median number being four. Schlossberg has ownership in 30 homes in Illinois. An analysis of those homes revealed that there were racial disparities in the care that that residents received. Each of the three predominately black facilities received the lowest possible nursing home rating. The two facilities with the highest ratings had 84 percent white residents. Residents at the predominately black homes received much less staff time than residents of the white facilities. For example residents at the Evanston location received 5.53 hours of care per day, while the Harvey facility received 1.73 hours per day. The investigation also found that the disparities between black and white homes were even greater where at least 75 percent of care was paid by Medicaid. The idea that race plays a role a facility’s quality of care is greatly disturbing fact recovered by this investigation.

To read more about the disparities in nursing homes, please click the link.

For a map of the Schlossberg nursing homes in the Chicago land area, please click the link.

Sunny Hill Nursing Home in Joliet, Illinois is changing its facility to allow their residents more independence. Schedules that once were set in stone are now more flexible and accommodating. The residents can decide when to wake up, when to bathe, when to exercise and what to eat. Usually nursing homes run like hospitals, where residents had cemented routines, were sometimes heavily medicated or physically restrained to avoid disruption, and had few choices about how to live out their years. The transformation under way is part of a national reshaping of nursing homes to make needs and preferences of residents central to operations. Legions of health-care advocates have pushed for more nursing homes to adapt these practices. A study released show that a third of the country’s 16,000 nursing homes have adopted cultural-change practices and another quarter of the homes are moving in that direction. The federal government is also urging a change in the way nursing homes are run. To read more about the Illinois change, click here.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has created a new ranking system for nursing homes. The system which appoints between one and five stars to nursing homes will allow the public to review a nursing home before placing a loved one in the facility. The rating system looks at staff levels which are crucial for proper nursing home supervision and to prevent elder accidents such as broken hips and nursing home falls. The system also looks at inspection reports based on past nursing home complaints, usually related to elder abuse and elder neglect. This new rating system also looks at quality control measures to ensure that nursing homes are run appropriately. To read more about the new nursing home ranking system click here.

The new Medicare Nursing Home Compare Website can be used by Illinois residents to pick a nursing home that they feel comfortable and secure placing their loved one in. Several Illinois nursing homes have received poor ratings on the new Medicare sponsored website. Levin & Perconti attorneys specializing in nursing home abuse and elder neglect cases have brought several nursing home lawsuits against the homes which received poor rankings. Levin & Perconti have filed lawsuits for elder neglect, elder abuse, resident injuries some resulting in surgery and even death against the following nursing homes:

Warren Barr Pavilion

International Village

Choosing an Illinois nursing home for a loved one can be a difficult decision. The media and news reports dictate that often nursing home falls, nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect and nursing home deaths are the norm. However there are many free services that exist to help someone choose an Illinois nursing home appropriate for the level of care, supervision and monitoring that a nursing home resident deserves to receive. In Chicago, Illinois a free resource is offered through the Illinois Department of Public Health so that one is able to look at how many past complaints, violations and penalties have been given to an Illinois nursing home. In today’s world this free internet source is invaluable and may be one of the best ways to prevent a nursing home lawsuit from occurring and preventing the need to contact a nursing home lawyer in the future. Many gimmicks exist to try to have individuals pay for reports on the quality of nursing homes but the nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti believe that the reports from the Illinois Department of Public Health are an invaluable source of information. To access the website click here.

When 84-year-old John DeBias’ health began declining a few years ago, he was forced to abandon his condo in Florida and return to Carpentersville, Illinois, to live with his daughter. However, five months ago, John broke his leg and then suffered a heart attack during surgery and, as he continued to get worse, living with his daughter, Karen, a single working mother, became impossible since she simply did not have the time to devote to her ailing father and in-house health care was not enough. It was then that John was forced to move into a nursing home. Since January, John has lived in multiple Illinois nursing homes. He is finally in one that works for the family, but getting there was difficult. Most of the nursing homes put a good show on for the residents’ families, but care ends up being inadequate and seniors are left to fend for themselves more than they are able. A stint in one nursing home left John with weight loss of 13 pounds in two weeks, urinary tract and yeast infections, a shoulder injury from being pushed and pulled around, dehydration and malnutrition, and pressure sores.

Unfortunately, this is not a unique story for nursing home residents. In 2003, nation-wide state Long Term Care Ombudsmen programs collectively investigated 20,673 complaints against nursing homes and board and care residents. The Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act of 2008 is aimed at improving consumer knowledge about the quality of nursing homes. Some ways the Act is achieving that goal is by: (1) posting nursing home ownership details, a standard complaint form, and links to inspection reports on; (2) increasing the maximum fines from $10,000 to $100,000 for any nursing home deficiency that results in a death; and (3) independently auditing nursing home chains, allowing closer watching of chains that have failed to comply in the past. In addition, separate from the legislation, there will be a website by the end of the year that evaluates nursing homes on a five-star rating system.

Read more here.

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