Articles Posted in National Nursing Homes

nursing home attorneys

Elopement Serves as Most Dangerous Type of Wandering During Winter Months

Several U.S. states either just encountered or are preparing for one of the most intense artic cold blasts in the last decade. Extreme weather events like this can greatly impact nursing home residents who are at risk of wandering outside of a care facility or eloping, a dangerous form of wandering. The Illinois Alzheimer’s Association says wandering represents one of many behavioral problems occurring in 6 out of 10 people living with Alzheimer’s across the state. These people tend to wander and aimlessly move about their environment without regard of their personal safety. During the cold weather seasons, nursing home administrators and care staff, as well as family members, should ensure these residents and loved ones stay safe and are prevented from wandering outdoors, especially when extreme temperature changes are present.

The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners reports the most dangerous type of wandering, called elopement, occurs when a patient attempts to completely leave the nursing home and wander outside. This is a difficult type of wandering to confront, as patients may be unable to grasp the situation and understand the actual surroundings and environmental risks. Patients are often hurt or killed while eloping, especially during the cold weather months as they are not dressed to stay warm against freezing temperatures.

Earlier this month, our blog covered the story of a 29 year-old-woman in a vegetative state who had given birth to a baby boy on December 29th. The woman is a longtime resident of Hacienda Healthcare just outside Phoenix, previously falsely reported as admitted to the facility after a near drowning incident as a teenager. Instead, the woman’s family has clarified that she is nonverbal and is intellectually disabled as a result of seizures that began as a toddler. Although she is nonverbal, she is able to move her extremities and head and neck, and can show emotion through facial expressions.

This morning, Phoenix police announced that they had arrested Nathan Sutherland, a 36-year-old male nurse who had been an employee of the facility and was responsible for providing nursing care to the victim. He has been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse after he was found to be a DNA match to the infant boy. Police required genetic testing of every male employee of Hacienda after the victim gave birth and although Sutherland initially attempted to forgo testing, he was ultimately forced by police to cooperate.

Sutherland become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in 2011 and it appears that Hacienda has been his sole employer since becoming an LPN. Prior to receiving his nursing certification, he worked as a nurse aide for 6 years. Earlier today, Hacienda released a statement that Sutherland was immediately fired upon learning of the DNA match, also saying that Sutherland went through a background check prior to being hired. Hacienda has publicly apologized for the incident, promising to follow more robust hiring and training practices.

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Readers Choose Levin & Perconti for “Best Legal Blog”

With a very special thank you to all of our blog readers and those within our online sharing communities, we are excited to announce that Levin & Perconti’s Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Blog has won 1st place in the Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury category by The Expert Institute’s 2018 Best Legal Blog Contest, one of the largest blog competitions of its kind. Levin & Perconti’s Medical Malpractice blog was also a 1st place winner in 2017 making this a consecutive winning year for our online content to shine amongst the best. In 2019, we look forward to providing additional legal suggestions and will continue to build a resource of newsworthy information about the struggles of long-term care communities right here in Illinois but also across the U.S.

The Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Blog has helped many nursing home abuse and neglect victims, as well as their family members and even facility care staff, navigate through a confusing system of legalities. Some of our most shared posts also include a synopsis of successful litigation journeys for our clients, including:

for profit nursing homes

Vulnerable Populations Pay the Price as U.S. Nursing Home Chains Crumble Under Risky Financial Choices

The Long Term Care Community Coalition, in partnership with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, is preparing a strong agenda for 2019 starting with a joint statement concerning the chaos that has occurred in the nursing home industry as operators, even those of large care groups, are undertaking money hungry risks at the cost of their own staff resources and vulnerable patient residents. The joint statement highlighted investigative findings reported by The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New York Times of these U.S. nursing homes chains.

  • The Carlyle Group bought HCR ManorCare and each year since the number of health deficiencies at the chain rose 26 percent. The Carlyle Group then went on to sell ManorCare’s real estate collection for more than $6 billion dollars but inevitably faced bankruptcy in 2018 after not being able to pay rent to the new owners.

Justice for Veterans Served: Illinois Legislators Raise Claim Cap to $2 Million, Retroactive for Quincy Legionnaires’ Victims’ Families

Triggered in 2014, the misdiagnoses and poorly managed care of residents with Legionnaires’ disease claimed the lives of 15 veterans living at the state-run VA facility in Quincy over a two-year span. Because of the tragedies, a handful of advocacy groups and Illinois lawmakers have been working to prevent deaths like this from occurring again while proposing ways to seek justified claims on behalf of those who were lost due to the state’s negligence.

A 29-year-old woman in a vegetative state has given birth to a baby boy in a Phoenix-area nursing home. The woman, a confirmed member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, has lived in a vegetative state since she was 15 and nearly drowned. The birth was a complete surprise to staff, not only because her condition makes her unable to consent or engage in sexual activity, but because they were completely unaware of her pregnancy until she went into labor.

Through their lawyer, the woman’s family released a statement, saying in part “The family is obviously outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda Healthcare.”

Facility Has Persistent Low Ratings, but Promises to Take Accountability for Rape

vietnam veteran care

Vietnam Veteran’s Wrongful Death Awarded $7 Million Verdict

A Cook County Circuit Court jury recently awarded $7 million to the family of Patrick Stein, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), after nurses and paramedics failed to keep him safe in an ambulance transfer from St. James-Olympia Fields hospital to the Edward Hines Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital for psychiatric treatment. The 64-year-old Army veteran died in July 2014, after his PTSD confusion resettled and prompted him to exit an ambulance while it was traveling 30 to 35 miles per hours and sustain fatal injuries to his head and body. Prior to his transfer, his concerned family had brought him to the St. James-Olympia Fields emergency room after finding him outside his daughter’s home with a butcher knife clutched to his abdomen. Once Mr. Stein arrived at the hospital though, he did not remember the episode with the knife and continued to present dangerous confusion, prompting his fatal ambulance ride to the VA hospital. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans.

Levin & Perconti attorneys Michael Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black and Cari Silverman brought the suit on behalf of Mr. Stein’s family. The attorneys argued that Mr. Stein, given his medical history, should have been carefully monitored by medical staff to protect and prevent him from injuring himself during the transfer. Hospital nurses were also faulted for failing to relay information to the paramedics about his mental state. The clinical impressions of the medical staff at St. James indicated Mr. Stein to exhibit:

“Since nurse staffing is directly related to the quality of care that residents experience, CMS is very concerned about the risk to resident health and safety that these situations may present.”

-11/18/18 CMS memo to state nursing home surveyors

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency tasked with regulating nursing homes, has updated rules for nursing home staffing levels and how they report employee hours.

evacuation plan

Lawmakers in Outrage of Administration’s Relaxed Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness Proposed Requirements

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. He has been outspoken on many occasions regarding the outcome of nursing home preparedness in the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster. And with President Trump’s Administration’s recent announcement to ease a home’s necessary preparedness for emergencies, his concern came with outrage expressed in an official letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“It is troubling to see CMS decide to further roll back its already inadequate safeguards with this proposed rule, which does more to cut corners than cut costs,” Wyden wrote. “The Trump administration’s proposal not only strips patients of commonsense protections in order to pad the pockets of medical providers, but goes against the recommendations of well-respected national organizations charged with developing best practices for workplace and consumer safety.”

nursing home vet

Employee Helps Raise Concern Over VA Nursing Home Care

U.S. lawmakers have sent a demand letter to the head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, regarding more information be revealed following the horrific exposure of negligent care occurring at an already poorly rated Veterans Affairs (VA) facility in Brockton, Massachusetts. Investigators arrived at the facility after an employee whistleblower contacted congress on the failing nature of the home for veterans. When investigators arrived, they found half a dozen staff sleeping vs. caring for residents.

Democrats from the state, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, penned the letter and included concerns such as, “The continued care lapses at VA facilities raise questions about whether concrete, lasting measures are being implemented to prevent misconduct from occurring again.” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie has been requested to give a full explanation regarding the steps that will be taken by the VA to fix the ongoing issues.

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