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People with mental health conditions that impact their ability to make decisions cannot consent to sexual relations. To allow elderly residents with dementia to engage in intimate relations in a nursing home under the guise that it is “consensual,” and in some respects promote it as a policy, is inexcusable.

An Illinois appellate court has sided with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on their decision to heavily fine an Illinois nursing home for a policy that allowed residents with dementia to engage in sexual relationships.

Generations at Neighbors in Byron, IL previously allowed residents with dementia or other cognitive difficulties to have intimate relations with fellow residents, provided that the interactions seemed consensual. CMS, citing this policy as an Immediate Jeopardy violation, fined the facility $83,000. Immediate Jeopardy citations are reserved for those “situations in which the provider’s noncompliance with one or more requirements of participation has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment or death to a resident.”

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“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.

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A Chicago psychiatric hospital responsible for treating children in state custody with the most serious psych conditions is facing serious allegations of sexual assault from its patients.

Chicago Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, located in the city’s Uptown neighborhood, has served as a lifeline for Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), taking foster children with psychiatric issues that other hospitals just wouldn’t treat. Since at least 2008 DCFS has been aware of incidents of loose supervision of its young patients, resulting in sexual abuse and assault by fellow residents and even staff. A government agency created to protect the safety and welfare of our children not only knows about these cases of abuse and neglect, but for at least 10 years have allowed these problems to persist, continuing to send children entrusted to their care to the hospital.

Allegations of sexual assault and abuse at the hospital reached a fever pitch this year. According to ProPublica, there have been 16 allegations of sexual and physical abuse and neglect against the hospital since January, including 2 allegations of sexual assault against the same 7-year-old girl. The girl alleges that on separate occasions, a 12-year-old fellow patient and an employee digitally penetrated her. Of these 16 allegations, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) found enough evidence to support 4 cases and are currently investigating 5 others. There was not enough evidence to substantiate the other 7 allegations.

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“Imagine someone in the inside of a car with the doors locked and the windows rolled up and that person is nonverbal and can’t communicate. And you leave that person in the car until they die.

That’s what happened to our client, but it happened in a health care facility instead of a car.”  Attorney Steve Levin

https://youtu.be/e966vpOoesg

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It’s a tragic end to a story that should have never happened. On Monday, Chicago Police discovered the body of Ernestine Booker, a 67-year-old woman suffering from dementia who disappeared from her Bronzeville nursing home on October 23rd. Ms. Booker’s body was found at the Sykes Center, a now-closed Advocate outpatient healthcare center at 2545 S. King Drive, approximately 2.5 miles from the nursing home from which she disappeared. The cause of death has not yet been released, but Chicago Police said there is no evidence of a homicide.

While the full details of her disappearance have not been shared with the public, we do know that Ms. Booker left her nursing home unnoticed around 11 a.m. Her family notified the police that same day and Chicago police asked for the public’s assistance in locating her.

When families place their loved ones in the care of a nursing home, the minimum expectation is that the nursing home will keep track of their whereabouts. As we shared in an earlier post, residents with dementia are more prone to wandering a facility or eloping (leaving).

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A New Jersey long term care facility is the at the center of an adenovirus outbreak that has claimed the lives of 7 children and sickened at least 11 others.

Wanaque Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Haskell, New Jersey, has stopped taking new patients but is facing criticism after it was revealed that a health inspection over the weekend found hand washing deficiencies. It is unknown when the spread of the virus began, but the facility notified the New Jersey Department of Health of the outbreak on October 9th. The CDC is also investigating the outbreak.

NBC News says that the facility was also cited in 2016 and in 2017 for other infection prevention deficiencies, including issues with hand washing, improper storage of syringes, failure to disinfect surfaces and syringes properly and the unsanitary storage of oxygen tank tubing.

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“We’ve seen almost every kind of abuse and neglect that can go on in a nursing home. This kind of raises the bar.”                                                                                                                                                                                   -Levin & Perconti Attorney Margaret Battersby Black

Levin & Perconti filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of a 76-year-old man who was humiliated in a video that was live-streamed on Facebook. The video shows 6 employees of Holland Home, the South Holland, IL nursing home in which victim Reggie “Doe” had been a resident for 8 months. Four of the employees shown in the video were named in the lawsuit and are identified as nurse aides at the facility.

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October 14-20 is International Infection Prevention Week, a week in which government and health-focused organizations push to educate both the public and professionals on infection prevention and risk factors, as well as identifying symptoms and treatment options.

The elderly are already vulnerable to infections due to weakened immune systems, but those residing in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are even more so. Sharing close quarters makes the transmission of infections easier, compounded by the fact that elderly nursing home residents often have open wounds that serve as prime routes of entry for infections.

The CDC shares these facts about infections in long term care facilities:

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“They get into trouble, they fix things up just enough to get back into compliance and then they let things slip again. This cycle just goes on for years. Meanwhile, there are people living in these places.”

-Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy to the Lexington Herald-Leader

A tragic story out of a northern Kentucky nursing and rehabilitation center has reignited a topic that we know causes a great deal of confusion and frustration for the loved ones of nursing home residents. How does one find out who the owners of a nursing home actually are and what their history of patient care is? The details of the wrongful death case of 45-year-old Bobby Crail help highlight the ability of nursing homes to repeatedly get away with maltreatment and even skirt financial and legal responsibility. It also highlights why if your loved one has been mistreated, abused, or neglected in a nursing home, you need an attorney who has both the experience and tenacity to successfully stand up to major corporations capable of these horrific behaviors.

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A Special Focus Facility (SFF) is being sued by the family of Delores Green, an 84-year-old woman suffering from dementia, for allegedly failing to prevent her from being ‘repeatedly’ raped and sodomized.

The victim’s daughter, Vivian Colette Green, is suing Christian Care Home in Ferguson, Missouri for the alleged rapes after discovering her mother injuries just last month. A resident of the facility for nearly 8 years, the victim is unable to communicate, unable to walk, relies on a feeding tube, and is a diabetic. She was unable to tell her daughter what had taken place, but Vivian Green said she quickly realized that her mother had suffered sexual trauma due to the bruises and swelling on her body.

Upon discovering the injuries, Ms. Green immediately questioned staff at Christian Care Home but after feeling ignored and realizing the injuries were getting worse, she called the police. An emergency room physician conducted a rape examination, which includes a physical exam as well as a rape kit, and said her injuries were consistent with recent multiple rapes that had taken place over the course of several weeks. An investigation has identified a suspect, a fellow resident within Christian Care Home, but that suspect has not officially been named by police.