The News-Gazette reported recently on the results of a several investigations at one Illinois nursing home that turned up various quality of care problems. The survey was conducted by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) at the Champaign County Nursing Home. The IDPH is the state entity which is in charge of ensuring standards are kept up at local long-term care facilities. They can investigate facilities, issues citations, fines, and, in the worst cases, may be able to revoke licenses for chronic problems.
In this case, the IDPH investigator found a number of different problems. For example, one citation stemmed from malnourishment of a resident. The senior in question weighed only 125 pounds but lost 10 pounds within a month. That amounts to a loss of eight percent of the total body weight over a four week period. For seniors in fragile health, that weight loss can be quite dangerous. That is why the senior was supposed to be placed on “health shakes” to help with weight gain. Yet, on the very day that the inspection was there, the senior did not receive the health shake. Not only that, but the lunch that she was given was only a half serving. With caregiving practices like that, it is perhaps little wonder why the senior had trouble keeping on weight.
The nutrition problem was not isolated to only that resident. According to a summary of the IDPH report obtained by the newspaper, on the day of the inspection a total of 22 residents only received half of the lunch that they needed.
On top of that, various reports suggest that there were food preparation problems at the home. Plastic pieces were found in pureed meat in all four of the homes dining rooms. This was likely caused by a piece of rubber gloves falling into the food. On another occasion a small piece of cardboard was found in pureed food. Another inspection found that the walk in cooler was not working properly. The temperature inside was far too high to ensure safe food preservation. Officials condemned it for use.
Accountability for Nursing Home Neglect
As this story demonstrates, the IDPH plays a critical role in ensuring standards are met and seniors are kept safe. However, the harsh reality is that IDPH investigators do not have anywhere near the resources to monitor facilities as needed to ensure full compliance with caregiving laws. While the risk of inspection and citation may deter some negligent conduct, the fact remains that poor care continues to lead to preventable injury and even death.
In those cases, when a resident is harmed, private citizens can step up to demand accountability. This often takes the form of civil lawsuits for violation of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act or similar standards. The nursing home abuse lawyers at our firm have worked without countless families on these matters, ensuring that caregivers be held responsible for their actions. Besides providing resources for those affected, these suits act as an added layer of protection that spurs facilities to commit the resources necessary to keep residents safe.
See Related Blog Posts: