Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

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

nursing home abuse

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Submits First Required Biannual Report

The first required biannual report for the Illinois State Veterans Homes has now been published for the reporting period of July 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 and highlights the number of complaints made by residents including those listed in a “Resident Grievance Log” and required follow-up by staff, information on any epidemic reported at a veterans home, the number of cases and information on the cases, and action taken by the homes to eradicate the spread of communicable disease. The new reporting requirements enacted in 2018 by Illinois lawmakers mandate the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Act (20 ILCS 2805/2.13) direct the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IOVA) to report the following information to the Illinois General Assembly:

  • The number and nature of complaints made by residents;

caregiver neglect

Caregiver Neglect and Abuse May Happen More Often During Holiday Season

With the National Center of Elder Abuse reporting as many as 5 million people affected by elder abuse per year, and more than 95 percent of which go unreported, it remains an understatement to say nursing home abuse and neglect are a growing concern. And during the busy holiday season, when there are not enough employees to take care of the needs of all the residents and care workers become easily distracted with personal activities, the incidences of abuse and neglect will sadly trend upward. It’s an important time of the year for family members and friends of those residing in long term care facilities to frequently check-in and visit with not only our loved ones but also those responsible for caring for them. Make a daily call or weekly stop this month to see that the quality of services is what you expect. Unfortunately, the result may be that many of our elderly relatives are living with care that is substandard and may even be coated with dangerous abuse and neglect symptoms. Recognize these signs provided by the Nursing Home Abuse Center and report any findings or concerns immediately.

Physical Abuse

“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.

abuse in hospitals

Uptown Chicago Psychiatric Hospital “Called Out” After Reports of Sexual Abuse and Neglect Involving Child Patients

Although not surprised, the entire legal team at Levin & Perconti has been cringing over the recent ProPublica Illinois investigation into Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, a private psychiatric facility located in the northside of the city. The initial ProPublica findings involve both claims of sexual abuse and related disruptions grown from the ongoing neglect of young patients in the hospital’s Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Program. The allegations are horrific to say the least. Even so, dozens of children have bravely stepped forward and shared their personal stories of being raped and sexually abused by staff and patients, while others have been physically assaulted. Many of the hospital’s hotline complaints in just the last few months were triggered from laxed staff who created scenes of abusive sexual activity (most forced), and inappropriate or violent altercations between children and teenage patients.

Federal inspection reports in 2018, show the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has investigated 16 allegations of abuse and neglect, many sexual in nature, at the hospital between staff and child patients, and other hospital residents just this year. As the Chicago Tribune recently reported, some pending investigations include these sickening allegations:

nursing home abuse lawyers

Inappropriate Social Media Posts Involving Nursing Home Residents 

Over the last decade, as the popularity of social media platforms increased, so have incidents which workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers shared inappropriate, abusive, degrading or embarrassing photos and videos that may also sexually exploit residents. For the workers who have been caught, they admit initiating or participating in these acts to being stressed and overworked. Whatever the disgusting motive may be, it violates the residents’ rights, and may be actionable in civil court.

As most states wait for The Office for Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enforce the federal patient privacy law known as HIPAA related to social media exposure, a simple checklist was developed by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) for nursing homes to follow. This checklist should be reviewed by all nursing home employees often so residents’ rights to privacy (at-the-least) are upheld. Family members should start asking to review this list upon entering a new partnership with a home on behalf of their loved one.

nursing home neglect

Skilled Care Falls Short While Nursing Home Costs Continue to Rise

While there has been a general slowing of individuals dependent on nursing home care from nearly 86 percent in 2012 to less than 82 percent in 2017, as life expectancy continues to increase in the U.S. and seniors account for a higher proportion of the population, demand for the services provided by nursing facilities will increase and no doubtingly, costs will follow suit. But supported and efficient services have failed to align and it’s our nation’s most vulnerable people and their families, as well as care staff, who pay the real price. So, who is to blame?

Third-party payors and private entities who haphazardly increase the costs of healthcare services without providing quality care of professional and skilled nurses and staff look guilty. Employing staff and pushing up labor costs only leads to widespread budget increases and less fattening of private facility pockets, but shortages can ironically do the same. Meanwhile, nursing home administrators blame behind the market reimbursement rates of patients on ‘traditional” Fee-for-Service (FFS) Medicare patients to Medicare Advantage (MA) patients to cause the industry to suffer and negatively profit, demanding them to raise general daily costs to residents and families or cut short in areas such as infrastructure and staffing quality workers.

“Frail and vulnerable people are harmed when nursing homes fail to meet our standards. And I don’t think any of us wants to wait until the next natural disaster or other disaster exposes some kind of a deficiency that kills dozens of people.”

                                                 -Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)

On Thursday, the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to address substandard care and recent findings of abuse and neglect in U.S. nursing homes.

doctor opioid theft

Current or Former Employees Likely Responsible for Medication Theft

Pain medication thieves recently scored rather too easily at an Oklahoma nursing home. This was the second time in just one month in which patients’ narcotics were taken from the home. Reports from local police in Sulphur say the thieves climbed through the outside office window at the nursing home and stole more than 500 doses of opioids and other drugs including Norco ((acetaminophen and hydrocodone), Oxycontin, morphine and Xanax, and fentanyl patches. The estimated value of the stolen medications tallied in at $1,000. The home’s frustrated administrator said since the most recent incident, locks have been changed, and staff are encouraged to watch out for and report any suspicious activities. Local Police think it is possible that a current or former employee may be responsible for the theft, given that they “went straight for the key” to the medicine cart.

Levin & Perconti’s elder abuse lawyers feel this is yet another reminder for family members to keep a close eye on the security plan and safe living conditions of seniors to ensure they and their medications are protected. Nursing home negligence and lapses in care by nursing home providers can serve as just the start of possible misconduct and are often indicative of larger problems with the management of nursing facilities. When staffing decisions are made quickly or with lax standards, negligent and abusive employees are invited to abuse, steal, and wreak havoc on the lives of residents. These scenarios should never be allowed.

elder care

Community Members Wait in Angst Over Champaign County Nursing Home Sale 

Residents and community leaders in Champaign County have had a lot to say about the $11 million sale of a financially challenged nursing home to private control under Extended Care Clinical LLC and Altitude Health Services Inc., both headquartered in Evanston. Board members say current funds are insufficient to cover nursing home operations, but a sale would essentially restore the nursing home to its original 12-month budget. Most people in the Champaign County community remain concerned about the sale to this particular buyer and would rather have it stay a county owned facility. The purchasers have already licensed care under a different name, a tactic most for-profit or private care companies will do to minimize any lasting stigmas in poor reputations.

“The proposed project contemplates the transfer of operational control of the nursing home from Champaign County to University Rehabilitation Center of C-U LLC and transfer of the physical plant to University Rehab Real Estate LLC,” according to the application. “Upon approval by the Illinois Health Facilities and Service Review Board, University Rehabilitation Center of C-U LLC will apply to the Illinois Department of Public Health to become the licensee, necessitating a change of ownership.”

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