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Articles Posted in Bad nursing homes

All across the country, nursing homes are being run with less than the optimum number of staff. They are being understaffed in a hope to cut costs and increase profits. When nursing homes fail to properly staff their facilities, the chance of accidents and mistakes greatly increases. State and Federal laws set a minimum standard that nursing homes must comply with. The problems arise when facilities choose to ignore these government regulations.

People choose to go to nursing homes not because they want to, but because they are at a point in their lives where they need more care and attention than can otherwise be provdided to them. Many nursing home residents have been finding out that the nursing homes promise to provide them the care and treatment they need is often a fabrication. The nursing homes that choose to understaff their facilities have been rewarded with large profits by failing to provide the required number of nursing hours and as a result, patients of these homes have not received adequate care.

Some problems that can occur when a facility is understaffed are falls, pressure sores, dehydration and malnutrition, all of which stem from an overall lack of quality care and attention. It is easy to blame the staff of the nursing home when problems arise, but in reality the staff is often doing the best it can with the resources it is provided. If there are not enough staff members to provide supervision for the residents who are at risk for falls then it is likely a resident will fall, and it is no stretch of the imagination to assume that if there are not enough staff members to turn and reposition residents who are at risk for the development of pressure sores, that a resident will eventually develop pressure sores.

A tragic example of nursing home negligence was reported earlier this year by KCBD News. The nursing home death occurred at a facility known as Tumbleweed and involved a 71 year old resident who froze to death after being outside for several hours in frigid conditions.

The victim was a known wanderer, had dementia and Alzheimer’s. Surveillance video indicates that the man wandered out of the facility, slipped, and hit his head on an object outside. Nursing home employees did not find the man until 8 a.m. the next morning by which point he had died of exposure to the elements.

Amazingly, the man had only been transferred to Tumbleweed that very day. He previously lived in a separate nursing home that was shut down by state officials. An anonymous nurse at the negligent nursing home explained that according to facility protocol, residents were supposed to be checked on every two hours. But that was never followed. On top of that, a new resident who is known to wander and has dementia should have been monitored even closer.

The nurse explained the risks of the facility revealing that residents “can be outside for hours” without notice by employees. She continued that regular checks of residents and alarms on the doors were only installed the very day after the death because the facility management expected there to be a fuss made about the safety of the nursing home. On a separate occasion that very weekend, the nurse explained that a resident left the facility and hitchhiked to another town.

The family has indicated that they will seek legal action against the negligent facility.
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The care provided to residents by nursing homes driven by profit has often been questioned. Many observers wonder about their belief in committing as many resources as possible to ensuring that nursing home residents receive the care they deserve. There remains an inherent tension between spending money on quality care and cutting corners to increase the bottom line to owners and shareholders. We provide close oversight of these for-profit institutions when allegations arise of residents victimized by their inadequate care.

Along the same lines, new reports last week from the New York Times blog share another way in which these for-profit facilities may do anything in their power to maximize their payout. A Department of Health and Human Services report examined the rates at which different types of nursing homes classified the level of care each resident needed. The classification is important, because it determines the amount of funding provided to the facility by Medicare. The “higher” the classification, the more care needing to be provided to the resident and the more money to be sent.

Amazingly, in the years 2006 to 2008, the number of residents classified in the most severe group (demanding the most funding) jumped from 17% of all residents to 28%. Those changes cost Medicare a staggering $5 billion.

When examined further, researchers discovered that the leap had little to do with the changing dynamic of nursing home resident-their average health level remained unchanged. That means that facilities themselves were likely changing the classification to raise more money. In particular, for-profit nursing homes were much more likely to claim the highest classifications. 33% of for-profit resident are in that category, while only 18% of non-profit residents. Even within the group of profit-making facilities, the largest chains had the largest percentage of high classification residents.
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We have often explained how it is imperative for state regulatory bodies to take proactive steps to ensure that area nursing homes are abiding by all necessary regulations. It is simply unacceptable to allow vulnerable nursing home residents to be repeatedly subjected to sub-par care. One way to prevent the abuse is to take action before specific acts of negligence are reported.

Lo Hud News reported earlier this week on one regulatory body that is working to take proactive measure. The paper reported on steps taken by that areas health department to cite deficient facilities (and close one egregious home) for care violations.

Specifically three nursing homes were fined for not following advance directives for terminally ill patients in the facilities and the all-too-common problem of allowing pressure sores to develop. Three facilities will pay $28,000, $22,000, and $20,000 respectively for elder care negligence. One other facility will be closed completely after receiving 21 violations in the last three years.
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An Illinois nursing home is facing a new lawsuit this week as the former head of the La Salle County Nursing Home is challenged the events that led to her termination last year.

According to My Web Times, Adrienne Erickson was fired as administrator of the nursing home in September of 2009 after only three and a half months in the post. She claims that her termination was without merit-that she was actually given no reason for her firing. The LaSalle County Board which is in charge of operating the facility claims that Erickson was an “at will” employee, meaning that no reason was needed to terminate the employment.

While the termination letter sent to Erickson did not specifically mention a reason for the firing, a review of the events leading up to the termination point to a likely cause of the problem. Shortly before the firing, the La Salle County Nursing Home had received a significant amount of negative criticism following an Illinois Department of Public Health report that challenged safety protocols at the facility.

A negligent Chicago nursing home will be closed by the state, reports CBS 2 Chicago. Columbus Manor Residential Care Home faces over $100,000 in fines and closure after Illinois nursing home inspectors uncovered repeated examples of inappropriate care at the facility.

Reports confirm that residents were attacking each other physically, and one elderly female resident was forced to fight off another male resident’s attempt to sexual assault her. In another case, the nursing home staff failed to inform the doctor of one resident about his serious illness. The 61 year old resident died as a result.

A basic component of any nursing home care is honest reporting about medical conditions and ensuring a safe living environment for all residents at the facility. However, Columbus Manor was unable to meet even these fundamental requirements of adequate nursing home care.

Wisconsin’s largest nursing home remains under investigation this week after continued reports of substandard nursing home care. The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel has been following the developments at Mount Carmel Health & Rehabilitation Center.

The investigation by the state’s public health department is in its second week. The review was prompted by a viral outbreak at the facility which affected at least 21 residents. It was unclear exactly what caused the medical problem which was classified as leading to “generalized respiratory symptoms.”

This is only the latest is a long line of examples of extreme misconduct by the facility. Seven other lawsuits are still pending against the nursing home. On top of that, the state noted 35 specific care violations at the facility this year alone. In one case, staff members were caught lying about the location of a resident. The staff members reported seeing one resident repeatedly over a ten hour period, even though in reality the resident had left the facility and was arrested for prowling in a nearby neighborhood.

Another nursing home is being closed amid continuous examples of substandard care, dangerous negligence, and unabashed elder abuse reports First Coast News. The Glenwood Nursing Center in Arlington, Florida is being shut down by the state’s Department of Health, in a rare move spurred by repeated examples of inadequate care by the nursing home staff members.

The one hundred residents in the home will be relocated and nursing home administrators may be fined $25,000 on top of the closure after state officials conducted an unannounced visit to the home earlier this year. Investigations during the visit revealed unsupervised and dangerous facility. Residents were falling at an alarming rate; there were several instances of resident on resident abuse and many examples of dangerous resident wandering. One patient was actually able to leave the facility and reach the next county before he was recovered.

State officials explain that the nursing home administrators were well aware of many of the problems at the facility but simply chose not to fix them. It is one thing for an unavoidable accident to occur at a facility, but it is a totally different matter when those in charge of the facility knowingly allow dangerous situations to persist.

A Southwest Star article this week discussed the latest updated in the license revocation situation of the Evergreen HealthCare Center in Evergreen Park.

Evergreen is a facility that has repeatedly been found to have provided negligent care to its nursing home residents. Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti have filed multiple suits against the healthcare center in the past. Elder abuse abounds at the nursing home where residents have died from repeated failures by administrators, staff medical professionals, and aides.

We currently represent Cornelia Lee, who died after Evergreen facility staff failed to provide close monitoring of her medical prescription schedule, ultimately missing doses, failing to keep log charts, and not informing her doctor of abnormal test results. In another case, a resident at Evergreen died because of staff failure to monitor developing pressure sores on a bedridden senior resident. These are just two of many other examples of negligent, abuse, and substandard care provided at the Illinois nursing home.

The Champaign County Nursing Home is under state investigation yet again for an incident involving mistreatment of a nursing home resident at the facility. As the Champaign News-Gazette reports, a resident suffered a laceration requiring 24 stitches when an nursing home aide attempted to move her. All transfers of this particular patient were supposed to have been conducted by at least two aides, so as to avoid injuries like the one sustained. In fact, a sign posted directly on the resident’s door reminded the staff members of this rule.

The incident has prompted an investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

This blatant example of nursing home abuse is just one of several that have plagued the Champaign County Nursing Home recently. Earlier this year the institution was fined nearly $100,000 due to its violation of several Illinois Department of Public Health’s requirements. Those penalties were eventually reduced to around $14,000, but this latest investigation may drive up the penalty even further.

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