Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

nursing home abuse

AARP Speaks Out on Alarming Proposed Changes to Nursing Home Regulation

At Levin & Perconti we continuously monitor changes to current federal and state nursing home regulations in order to inform our clients of how those changes might impact quality of care. Recently we were pleased to see one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country, AARP, voice concerns about regulatory actions of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in a letter to the United States Senate Committee on Finance.

Not Enforcing the Rules

nursing home dementia

7 Risk Factors That Increase Dementia Deaths in Nursing Homes

Unfortunately, dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, is “one of the only top-10 cause of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed,” says the Alzheimer’s Association. A growing majority of these individuals depend on care provided by others to manage their daily activities, medications, financial needs, and to keep them in safe environments and reside in nursing homes.

People with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease may be elderly, frail, and naturally prone to higher personal injury rates, infection, or falls and be at a higher risk of dying contributed to several known risk factors:

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McClean County Nursing Home Residents Transferred After LeRoy Manor Closes

The former long-term care residents of the LeRoy Manor building, located in the central Illinois community of Bloomington-Normal, have moved to other nursing homes throughout Illinois. The private nursing home closed on February 15, 2019, displacing 75 employees and 66 residents. Administrators say about 90 percent of the residents were receiving Medicaid and poor reimbursement by the state was to blame for the closure. The group announced plans to end long-term care services at the home in January of 2019.

Thankfully, regional ombudsman from the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging told local news outlets that residents and their family members felt individual rights and desires were protected during the transition and that staff saw the process out appropriately. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and many residents preparing for a move out of their control will find themselves neglected or abused during a time of uncertainty and when changing staffing challenges become present. The move may be tough though for many of the LeRoy Manor residents who were originally from the area and able to stay connected with family and friends on a regular basis. These are relationships important when addressing basic care and medical needs and identifying nursing home neglect and abuse symptoms of loved ones.

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Illinois Lawmaker Says Families Should Be Able to Observe Nursing Home Care Provided to Loved Ones with Dementia Through Video Monitoring

Senate Bill 109, a plan sponsored by Illinois Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek), passed the state’s Senate in late March in response to multiple complaints received by the Illinois Department of Public Health about abuse, neglect and theft against nursing home residents. The bill was designed to help families of individuals battling dementia and would allow the installation of video and audio monitoring devices in their loved one’s room to deter or detect signs of abuse and neglect. The legislation language specifically speaks to the use of electronic monitoring in patient rooms in a building or care area solely dedicated to dementia residents.

The bill is now on the way to the Illinois House for further debate. It supports a 2015 law that allowed for video and audio monitoring equipment in facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities or those living in long-term care facilities.

nursing home abuse

Nursing Homes Often Use These Common Defenses When Accused of Abuse and Neglect

The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti have nearly three decades of experience in defending residents who have had their rights violated and become injured while under the care of others. Through our work we have been able to identify the many common ways nursing homes will attempt to defend themselves even when guilty of obvious wrongdoings which created harm to an already vulnerable individual. These injuries can range from physical and sexual abuse to careless neglect stemmed from medication mismanagement, poor hygiene, haphazard slips and falls, untreated bedsores, malnourishment and dehydration. These injuries can quickly become deadly when not discovered soon enough and are typically created by nursing home operators who make greedy choices that put patients at risk. Some of those common actions include:

  • Reducing or underreporting staffing levels

nursing home reform

Latest Senate Hearing Shows CMS Can Do More to Protect Nursing Home Residents

On Wednesday, March 6, 2019 another government session, this time led by the US Senate Committee on Finance, was held to discuss several disturbing reports of nursing home abuse and neglect and the lack of preventative measures and faulty reporting system used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create environments for quality resident care. The hearing was led by Chairman, Chuck Grassley (R – IA) and Ranking Member, Ron Wyden (D – OR) with special panelist testimony delivered by family members of residents fallen victim to nursing home abuse or neglect.

A Minnesota woman heartbreakingly remembered her mother, an Alzheimer’s patient who was raped by care staff. During the hearing she said, “My final memories of my mother’s life now include watching her bang uncontrollably on her private parts for days after the rape, with tears rolling down her eyes, apparently trying to tell me what had been done to her but unable to speak due to her disease.” A woman from Iowa shared her family’s concern after their mother died in a nursing home ranked with the highest possible quality of resident care scores from CMS even though the organization had been seriously fined for physical and verbal abuse. The elderly woman was allegedly left in severe pain and may have been dehydrated days before her nursing home death.

On Wednesday, the United States Senate Committee on Finance held a public hearing entitled “Not Forgotten: Protecting Americans From Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes.” The hearing included statements from adult children of nursing home residents who were the victims of rape, abuse, and neglect at the hands of their caretakers.

Letter Describes How Recent Government Actions Endanger Nursing Home Residents

Prior to the hearing, six long term care advocacy organizations banded together to send a letter to the Senate Committee on Finance to remind them of the government’s recent actions that have scaled back protections for those in nursing homes.

nursing home news

New Administrator Hired for DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center

The DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center now has a permanent administrator after more than five months of operating under interim leadership. According to a report published on February 20 in The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, the county nursing home’s operating board recently voted, 7-0, to approve Cheryl Vittorio of Elgin as the new administrator. Vittorio was previously the interim administrator of another nursing home and rehabilitation facility in Jacksonville, Illinois. Jeff Whelan, DeKalb County Board member and chairman of the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center Operating Board, said her base pay will be $112,000 a year and increase after a six-month probationary period. The previous administrator was no longer employed at the facility as of September 19 when the board found that leadership responsibilities fell short on many situations.

Prior to the administrator’s departure, the facility was fined a Type “A” violation in total of $25,000 after a patient fell and was seriously injured when improperly moved to a bed, according to a quarterly report from the Illinois Department of Public Health. A Type “A” violation pertains to an incident in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result, or has resulted. DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center is a large facility with 190 beds and has county ownership. It is located in DeKalb, Illinois and participates in Medicare and Medicaid programs.

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.

choosing a nursing home

Family Members Should Be Attending Resident Council Meetings with These 10 Questions

Nursing home administrators should allow for regular resident council or family council meetings. If they do not, it may be a sign that those residing in the facility may not be receiving the attention needed and care standards are not being met, triggering a higher risk of abuse and neglect. It’s the suggestion of the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti to request information about the dates and times of resident council or family council meetings and plan to attend. These councils are usually organized and managed by the residents or other residents’ families to address concerns and improve the quality of care and life for all residents.

If you’re able to attend a meeting with your loved one or on behalf of them, ask a council member whether it be another resident, care staff or administrator the following 10 questions and take notes:

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