Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

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nursing home abuse and neglect

Aperion Care Capitol Nurse Was Never Trained on Feeding Tube Placement

According to a state report filed by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Aperion Care Capitol, a 251-bed skilled-care facility and nursing home located at 555 W. Carpenter St. was fined for “failing to ensure there were appropriately trained staff to reinsert a feeding tube” that fell out while two nursing assistants were haphazardly removing the patient’s T-shirt.

According to the March 2018 report:

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The Elder Justice Coalition is reacting to a July 7th New York Times article that outlined just how extensively nursing homes have hidden low staffing numbers. The advocacy group is calling for an immediate congressional review of staffing practices within nursing homes.


Actual Payroll Data Reveals Staffing Crisis

The article, investigated and published in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, was based off a review of payroll hours submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  The actual hours made news not only because they show a serious crisis in terms of resident to staff ratios, but also because up until recently, nursing homes had supplied their own staffing data to CMS. With the new payroll-based submission process, nursing homes have no ability to fudge numbers.

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Just last week, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted down extending the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act (MCARE) to nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state. Among other provisions, the MCARE Act currently caps punitive damages against doctors, hospitals, and healthcare providers to 200% of the amount awarded for compensatory damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. The latest version of the bill sought to limit punitive damages against nursing homes to 250%. Punitive damages are dollars awarded to a victim with the intent to punish the party responsible for causing injury. Punitive damages are also intended to deter the likelihood of similar incidents occurring in the future.

Damage Caps: A Solution to a Non-Existent Problem

Robert L. Sachs, Jr., a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney, told the Penn Record that nursing homes are “asking for protections that already exist, and they’re asking for protections…as a cure for a problem that hasn’t even been diagnosed.” Sachs goes on to challenge Pennsylvania nursing home defense attorneys to pull up 5 awards composed of large punitive damages.

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Hidden VA Nursing Home Care Data Published

According to USA Today and The Boston Globe, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been tracking and withholding data on the quality of care at VA nursing homes for years. Because of this alleged fail, resident veterans and their families may not see the bigger picture regarding the quality of care services provided or performed. Families may also be withheld vital health care information to assist in making support decisions. On June 25, 2018, the national news outlets published the ‘hidden’ information from 133 VA nursing homes using reports obtained from internal DVA documents. The review concluded that for the 46,000 veteran residents across the U.S., more than two-thirds of their VA nursing homes were “more likely to have issues related to serious bedsores and residents who will suffer serious pain, than their counterparts in private nursing homes across the country.”

Unlike the VA, private nursing homes are required to submit timely reports on the care they provide to measure quality, inspection issues and staffing. That data is then publicly posted on a federal website for families to use when researching a facility for their loved one.

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nursing home violations

New Report Shows Serious Care Violations and Doubled Fines For 56 Illinois Nursing Homes

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. The most recent report, dating January 2018 thru March 2018, highlights more than 50 Illinois facilities determined to be lacking in patient care abilities related to the Nursing Home Care Act, a statute that provides nursing home residents and their families with the assurance that proper and safe care will be received.

Some violations heightened with a serious high-risk designation, and all homes received fines of no less than $1,000 while others reached more than $50,000 fines for issues that caused actual harm or immediate jeopardy to residents. Several problems were related to infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and abuse and neglect of patients caused by lack of support or inexperienced, overburdened staff. These violations may result in an official recommendation for decertification to the Department of Healthcare and Family Service, or the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Facilities included in this report are:

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The rules are changing yet again for nursing homes who have been negligent, and not for the better. On June 15th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’s Safety, Quality, and Oversight group sent a memo to state survey agency directors telling them to lighten up on nursing home punishments. The theme of the memo seems to be more “keep things moving” rather than “fix things for the long run.” The new rules will go into effect on July 15th.

Prior to the new changes, nursing homes who had any health or safety violations were punished in accordance with federal guidelines. Now the decision of how and when to punish facilities is being put into the hands of CMS’ regional offices, with the exception of a handful of circumstances.

Enforcement of Punishments for Immediate Jeopardy Violations

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nursing home legionnaires disease

Medical Documents Show “Questionable” Record-Keeping Related to Legionnaires’ Disease Victim’s Care and Family’s Concerns Prior To Death

The family of Dolores French, one of the 13 residents of the Illinois Veterans Home who died from the horrific Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in 2015, recently spoke out to WBEZ reporter Dave McKinney after “newly obtained health documents related to her case demonstrated a litany of questionable procedural and record-keeping practices at Illinois’ largest state-run veterans’ home….”

French had only been a resident of the Quincy Veterans Home for six weeks when Adams County Coroner James Keller examined her already decomposing body, possibly of two days, on the floor in her room. Although state officials deny the claim, her family was told her body was not in a condition to be embalmed and an open-casket funeral would not be an option.

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nursing home veteran care

Illinois Veterans Release Capital Report Requesting $200+ Million for New Veterans Home

In 2015, the misdiagnoses and poorly managed care of residents with Legionnaires’ disease claimed the lives of 13 residents of a state-run veterans home in Quincy. One in 10 people will die from acquiring Legionnaires’ disease under normal circumstances, but if the disease is contracted from a health care facility, the odds of death jump to one in 4. Since the incident, the Combined Veterans’ Capital Needs Task Force has been working endlessly to prevent a tragedy like this from occurring again and is now demanding the state of Illinois build a $200+ million state-of-the-art skilled nursing care facility to address safe water supply needs. The recommendations come from the Combined Veterans’ Capital Needs Task Force Report released on May 1, 2018 and includes:

  • Building a new, state-of-the art skilled nursing care facility that could house up to 300 residents.
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superhero caregiver

Overburdened Nursing Home Staff Can Be Heroes to Abused or Neglected Residents

Attorney Steven M. Levin, a partner at Levin & Perconti, was recently featured in Chicago Lawyer Magazine’s feature on whether the heroes of the new Avengers movie could be held liable in a court of law (you can read the interview here). While Steve had fun and the story was lighthearted, it reminded us about some of the everyday heroes we get to work with at Levin & Perconti. They are the staff responsible for one of our nation’s most vulnerable groups of citizens. The nursing assistants, janitors, nurses, therapists, administrators, practitioners and staff who serve nursing home residents and long-term care patients. Because the truth is, not all heroes wear capes.

At Levin & Perconti, we recognize the frustrated, overworked and underpaid care workers who ultimately save lives by speaking up and reporting violations of the law, rules, or regulations regarding the care and treatment of nursing home residents in their charge. The act of reporting can feel extremely uncomfortable and create fear and anxiety for most individuals who chose to get involved in reporting, but when national reviews of care residents indicate an abuse rate of 44 percent and a neglect rate of 95 percent, the need for staff who speak up and report wrongdoings has become a sad requirement to protect nursing home residents who cannot advocate for themselves. When these brave staff report issues their actions will continue to save lives and improve care standards while holding the right people accountable for any wrongdoings.

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Meadows Mennonite Retirement Community in Chenoa, Illinois, has been served with a lawsuit by the family of a deceased resident who was the victim of online photo shaming by an employee from the nursing home. The employee, believed to be Samantha Brown, was terminated when the facility was made aware that she, along with her then boyfriend, Michael Scurlock, had posted pictures of multiple residents in various states of undress while doing routine activities such as bathing, using the toilet, and sleeping. McLean County prosecutors are currently filing charges against the couple, after local police reviewed over 50,000 documents and records, including those from internet providers and Facebook. The graphic images were posted to Facebook earlier this year.

In March, the employee (identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe but believed to be Samantha Brown, a former CNA) notified Meadows that the photos were posted online, including to the the nursing home’s own Facebook page. She told Meadows, IDPH, and police that she believed photos she and other Meadows employees had taken were stolen by her ex-boyfriend and shared online.

Nursing Home Failed to Report Illicit Photos to Authorities