Articles Posted in Nursing Home Negligence

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nursing home abuse

There Are Several Ways to File a Complaint Against an Illinois Nursing Home

With more than 1,200 long-term care facilities serving over 100,000 residents with all types of medical issues, Illinois facilities licensed, regulated and inspected by the Illinois Department of Public Health are open for review and often subject to complaints. Rightful complaints are evaluated under the state’s Nursing Home Care Act. The Department’s 24-hour a day Nursing Home Hotline receives nearly 19,000 calls a year.

IDPH investigates quality of care issues, such as allegations of actual or potential harm to patients, patient rights, infection control, and medication errors. The Department also investigates allegations or harm or potential harm due to an unsafe physical (building) environment. Here is a list of the most common complaints.

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nursing home abuse

How Nursing Homes Should Handle Dangerous Prescription Drug Recalls

While most families worry about the misuse of their loved one’s prescription drugs while they are living in a nursing home, a new medication issue is presenting itself across America. In 2017, the American Medical Association released a report showing that many drugs the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approves are involved in some kind of recall or safety event after being released to consumers. Nursing home and long-term care residents are especially at risk of taking recalled or defective drugs because not all recalls are announced by the FDA or reported in the news media. When a public announcement is not made, notification is typically made by communication from the drug manufacturer to a nursing home resident who may not be reachable or cognitive. A nursing home pharmacist or lead medical staff should be in the know of any recalled medications, remove any faulted drugs from the stock cabinet and help provide an alternative plan alongside a nursing home patient’s treating physician to prevent unnecessary sickness or injury.

Understanding Drug Recalls

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nursing home wrongful death

A Closer Look at Christian Village Nursing Home Resident’s Untimely Death

Levin & Perconti attorneys recently reviewed second quarter nursing home violations in Illinois on the blog. One out of two facilities with a Type AA violation was Christian Village nursing home, located at 1507 Seventh St. in Lincoln. The home received the serious violation for failing to notify a 64-year-old patient’s doctor of rapid changes related to asthma. The female resident died a preventable death if only she had been treated for her known progressive respiratory symptoms and soon after initial complaints of shortness of breath. Her issues were followed by a continual decline in overall health and was soon later found unresponsive and taking her last supported breaths at a hospital. As a result, the Lincoln nursing home has been fined $50,000 by the state.

According to a report by the State Journal Register, the doctor, who isn’t named, is quoted in investigative documents saying, “I should have been notified” of the patient’s “progressive respiratory symptoms.” In the same note, the doctor said he had “no ideas what was going on” or he would have “ordered an antibiotic or sent the patient to a hospital emergency department earlier if he had known the patient continued to be short of breath,” and that he was shocked to hear the patient had died. The State Journal Register outlined the patient’s timeline of care in a July 18, 2018 news article.

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The latest quarterly report on Illinois nursing home violations is in and the number of Type AA and Type A violations has increased since the first quarter of 2018.

The Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) Second Quarterly Report of Nursing Home Violators includes some repeat offenders from quarter 1, as well as one facility that received a $50,000 fine for a Type AA violation for the second time this year.

According to IDPH, Type AA violations are given when a nursing home has a “condition or occurrence at the facility that proximately caused a resident’s death.” Type A violations are situations “in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result, or has resulted.” IDPH defines Type B Violations as those that would likely cause mental or physical harm to a resident.

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nursing home neglect

Payroll Records Indicate Nursing Home Staffing Shortages Create Serious Gaps in Patient Care

Only recently did the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) begin collecting and reviewing daily payroll records from more than 14,000 nursing homes. The publishing of the data became required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Kaiser Health News recently analyzed the submissions and caught that most U.S. nursing homes have been operating grossly understaffed and reporting a false review of average employee shifts. Kaiser claims these nursing homes had:

  • Significant fluctuations in day-to-day staffing, with particularly large shortfalls on weekends when personnel cared for nearly twice as many residents as normal.
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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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A 29-year-old former nursing home aide has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after failure to follow his training on using lifts caused the death of an elderly resident.


Foot Nearly Broke off From Victim’s Body

On September 10, 2017, Francisco Javier Ramirez was aiding 100 year old Evelyn Augusta Schweim with bathing at Sunwood Good Samaritan Center in Redwood Falls, Minnesota when she fell and fractured her foot so severely that it nearly separated from her body. Despite participating in two lift trainings, including one just a month before, Ramirez raised the swing chair lift to nearly 5 feet, three feet above the maximum height allowed for transferring a patient from the bathtub. He also was assisting Ms. Schweim alone, another violation of the facility’s protocol for transferring residents.

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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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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.