Articles Posted in Nursing Home Study


2021 Justice in Aging Guide Identifies 25 Ongoing Nursing Home Problems

State-licensed elder care and rehabilitation centers in Illinois may include assisted living facilities, and residential or personal care homes. Unfortunately, hundreds of investigations into these facilities continue to reveal these 25 repetitive problems noted by the Justice in Aging. The organization’s newly published 2021 list points to issues related to relaxed oversight and understaffing workforces, preventable resident injuries, painful and unnecessary evictions, Medicaid complications, dangerous patient abuse and neglect, and irreversible tragedies for families.

Problem #1: Providing Less Care to Medicaid-eligible Residents

covid-19 statistics uptown health center

Uptown Health Center releases COVID-19 statistics showing 122 COVID infections and 17 deaths.  Levin & Perconti, Illinois nursing home lawyers launch investigation into gross negligence in preventing the spread of COVID-19

On June 12, 2020, Uptown Health Center, located in Chicago, IL, released long term care outbreak data reporting of laboratory confirmed COVID-19 outbreak cases.  These statics confirm that 122 infections and 17 deaths have occurred at the facility during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Quarterly Violations

nursing home abuse whistleblower

Skilled Nursing Facility Employees Can Report Abuse and Neglect

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed potential abuse and neglect claims of more than 34,820 Medicare beneficiaries who were residing in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in 2016 and sent to the emergency room. The OIG released its findings in June of 2019 concluding that about one in five potential cases of abuse of elders or neglect were never reported to state inspection agencies, even though it’s a federal requirement for them to do so.

Here is a closer look at what the OIG report had to say:

violator report

Final Illinois Nursing Home Violator Report Released for 2018

On January 24, 2019, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released the final Quarterly Report of Nursing Home Violators for 2018. This most recent report dating October 2018 thru December 2018 highlights 28 Illinois facilities cited for the most serious type “A” violations of 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. According to IDPH, an “A” violation pertains to a condition “in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result, or has resulted.”

Facilities with an “A” violation in quarter four of 2018 included:

nursing home disaster plan

Healthcare Facilities Should Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

Although new Medicare and Medicaid guidelines were set in place after the tragic deaths of over 100 nursing home residents during Hurricane Katrina, cases of patients left behind due to natural disasters such as wildfires, tornadoes, or floods are reported each year. These occurrences are starting to prompt health care officials to raise concern over the need for better public policy support, emergency planning resources, funding, and protections for vulnerable long-term care residents in the event of an emergency prompted by catastrophic events and conditions that threaten their well-being such as no internet and no electricity.

A recent federal review of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) records found that:

Nursing Homes May Transfer Ownership to Hide Questionable Care

In the aftermath of a resident accident, report of abuse or neglect, or serious complaints against staff, a nursing home’s lease or title may simply be transferred to another company as a way to position a band-aid over real issues. When nursing home facilities are often bought, resold and rebranded, families of residents should raise questions about whether administrators or staff are to blame.

“A May 2016 article in the Boston Globe highlighted the findings of a Harvard University study on the impact an acquisition has on nursing home quality. The study found that there was a direct link between the number of times a facility had changed hands and the number of state violations it had. The authors ultimately concluded that the changing of hands wasn’t the cause, but the fact that the facility itself was plagued by troubles and that changing ownership did little to improve it.” – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

What is the biggest insurance program in the country? Medicaid. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans participate in Medicaid, and that total is rising. According to some recent estimates about 11 million more people will be added to the programs over the next decade.

Of course Medicaid is often associated with Medicare, but there is much confusion over the basic roles of these programs.

In theory, Medicaid is suppose to help lower income Americans of all ages while Medicare is healthcare for seniors. However, the reality is that a large portion of Medicaid costs are actually spent on senior care as well–most notably long-term stays in nursing homes. That is because Medicare usually only covers limited nursing home stays–often 90 days–and only those directly from the hospital. Long-term care for seniors that have significant disability is usually not covered. That means that a senior who needs that care is either required to pay for it out of pocket, use private long-term care insurance (if they have it), or try to qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is based on the individual’s assets. That means that many seniors are forced to “spend down” their assets in order to qualify for the program.

Chicago nursing home lawyers are concerned about the negative effects of antidepressants on nursing home residents. According to USA Today and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, two new studies were published on the negative effects of antidepressants. The first study focuses on the risks of antidepressant prescription. The second study is concerned with the affect on nursing home residents when their antidepressant prescription is changed.

The first study was done to address that fact that antidepressants are the most common prescription to treat dementia. Specifically, British researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College in London found that Zoloft (sertraine) and Remeron (mirtazapine), which are frequently prescribed for Alzheimer’s disease, are no more effective than a placebo. Placebos are sugar pills given in studies to test a drug’s effectiveness against the drug not being administered in the first place. In other words, the study found that the drugs are no more effective than taking a sugar pill that the patient believes could cure his or her disease. Furthermore, the study found that those patients who took the antidepressant prescriptions were more likely to experience adverse side effects. The researchers as well as Illinois medical malpractice attorneys ask that physicians to think of alternative treatments for dementia.

The second study was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. According to that study, researchers from a Harvard Medical School affiliate found that nursing home residents’ risk for falling increases five times in the two days immediately following a prescription or change in dosage of non-selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (non-SSRI) antidepressants. Examples of non-SSRI antidepressants include bupropion (Wellbutrin) and venlafaxine (Effexor). In light of this new information, the lead researcher and Chicago nursing home fall attorneys encourage nursing home facilitators and staff to protect their residents from this increased danger.

Both studies bring to light the risks of antidepressants to nursing home residents, but do not necessarily advocate for the prohibition of antidepressants. Instead, both studies are concerned with the increased risks of antidepressant prescription. When antidepressants are prescribed or dosages are changed, the prescriptions should be given on weekdays or times when staff can diligently watch residents for adverse side effects and prevent falls. Due to their age and frailty, even small adverse side effects and falls can result in an injury that causes pain for the rest of their life. This physical pain also translates into emotional and mental pain in the patient and even affects the patient’s family who can only helplessly watch their loved one.
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The nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti have handled all types of abuse and neglect lawsuits against Alden nursing homes throughout Illinois for many years. Today’s Chicago Tribune tells the story of at least thirteen children in the Chicago area who fell victim to abuse and neglect at Alden Village North, a nursing home located at 7464 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago.

The Tribune’s article exposes the sad truth that abuse and neglect not only happens to the elderly living in Illinois nursing homes, but also to younger residents who require ongoing medical treatment that they cannot receive at home. Parents and family members place their trust with nursing home staff to care for their loved ones, but unfortunately neglect and abuse occur, often due to negligent hiring and short-staffing. One of the victims in the Tribune article was just two years old when he died of asphyxiation because staff at the facility failed to properly monitor his tracheotomy tube for over 3.5 hours. The child had a habit of playing with the tube but staff did nothing to prevent this behavior and did not notify his physician of his actions.

In another sad case, a nine-year-old boy who suffered from severe cognitive deficits died due to nursing home neglect. Staff failed to properly care for his g-tube, failed to notice a change in his condition and failed to communicate these changes to his doctor. As a result, he died from bowel obstruction and an infection at a local hospital.
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A panel of nutrition experts has released new definitions for malnutrition that will be universally applicable. McKnights Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living is reporting that these new definitions will help clinicians and healthcare workers identify and treat malnutrition. Researchers had decided to develop new definitions because there was a lack of generally agreed upon terms for the numerous forms and causes of malnutrition. There are now three categories of adult nutrition: starvation-related, chronic disease-related or acute disease/injury-related. These categories can now include all the major causes of malnutrition. These are important clarifications considering a 2000 study found that between 25% and 85% of nursing home residents are considered malnourished. The new definitions were accumulated by ESPEN and ASPEN. They will be published in the journals Clinical Nutrition and JPEN. To read about the new definitions, please check out the link.

Malnutrition or dehydration can cause many problems in elderly residents. These health conditions include tooth decay, broken bones, anemia and low blood pressure. Severe cases can even lead to death. These ailments can oftentimes be easily prevented if the residents are properly fed and nourished. Many times residents who are suffering from depression will become malnourished. Some experts also believe that residents become malnourished due to a lack of adequately trained personnel. Poor staffing is often the root of most nursing home abuse problems. It is the duty of all nursing homes to ensure that not only they have a sufficient number of staff members, but that these staff members are properly trained to deal with the complexities of the elderly. If you believe that you or a loved one resides in a Chicago-area or Illinois nursing home with inadequate staffing, please confront the nursing home about this problem. If this poor level of staffing has lead to nursing home abuse, consult a nursing home lawyer.

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