New Investigation Shows Continual Lax in Oversight of U.S. Nursing Homes
State-licensed elder facilities in Illinois may include assisted living facilities, residential or personal care homes. Each is supposed to be a place for individuals to go when they are no longer able to care for themselves, require help with daily tasks or a managed medical or physical rehabilitation. Unfortunately, dozens of investigations into these facilities across the county have revealed a repetitive cycle in relaxed state-licensed oversight, understaffing, preventable injuries, dangerous abuse and neglect, and tragic deaths.
The most recent investigation making headlines comes from a partnership between Vermont Public Radio and Seven Days. Seven Days is an alt-weekly publication distributed throughout Vermont. The news sources told the story of 78-year-old Marilyn Kelly, a resident placed in a 13-bed care facility by the name of Our House Too to help manage her dementia. According to the report and interviews by the woman’s children, it only took eight months for a flurry of poor care and neglectful events to arise that ultimately ended in her alleged wrongful death.
- One daughter discovered her dirtied mother trying to feed herself but unable to find her mouth with her fork.
- The woman was given daily doses of a sedating and controversial antipsychotic called Haldol without family consent.
- Residents, including Marilyn, battled two bouts of lice, even though many nursing homes are required to treat lice as schools do to minimize the spread of it.
- An untreated, neglected tooth caused excruciating pain and was determined rotten.
- An overnight staffer was caught on camera shoving the older woman to the floor. The staffer later pleaded guilty to assault.
- Marilyn Kelly died a month later from pneumonia, and her family is now suing the care home and prescribers, alleging neglect and wrongful death.
The defendants have since denied all allegations.
Identifying Patterns of Inadequate Nursing Home Care in Illinois
Stories like Marilyn Kelly’s are not uncommon throughout the U.S. Inspection reports nationwide reveal troubling patterns of inadequate care, and some owners even admit to it being easier to accept violations and fines than to provide staff with better pay, resources and training. These nursing home operators continue to make choices that put patients at risk, such as:
- reducing staffing levels
- hiring inexperienced workers and failing to train them
- falsifying records and patient care ratios
- sedating residents in hopes of easier care
- not following industry guidelines or Illinois laws
- ignoring reports of abuse and neglect or not reporting them to authorities
- failing to disclose problems when talking to clients and family members
In Illinois, several public and private agencies are responsible for the licensing, regulating, inspecting, and certification of approximately 1,300 nursing homes and responds to nearly 6,000 related complaints each year. These groups include the Illinois Department of Public Health and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Call Levin & Perconti If an Illinois Nursing Home Failure Caused a Resident’s Injury or Death
It is emotionally painful to discover that a loved one is experiencing abuse or neglect. However, our priority is to guide you through this challenging time, and to protect them from further harm. And if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect may have contributed to a loved one’s injury or death, please contact Levin & Perconti’s team of lawyers immediately. Call us toll-free at 877-374-1417 or in Chicago at (312) 332-2872 for a FREE consultation.