Symphony of Joliet releases COVID-19 statistics showing 132 COVID infections and 25 deaths. Levin & Perconti, Illinois nursing home lawyers launch investigation into gross negligence in preventing the spread of COVID-19
On June 3, 2020, Symphony of Joliet, located in Joliet, Illinois, released long term care outbreak data reporting of laboratory confirmed COVID-19 outbreak cases. These statics confirm that 132 infections and 25 deaths have occurred at the facility during the COVID-19 outbreak.
On April 22, 2020, NBC5 Chicago detailed the COVID-19 outbreaks occurring at Symphony of Joliet, providing that the facility’s maintenance supervisor contracted the virus and became a “hyper-spreader” of the virus because of the nature of his work throughout the facility. The article explains many of the subsequent outbreaks in the facility were linked to the supervisor. While precautions have now been taken to combat the transmission of the virus within the facility, much of the damage has already occurred as 81 residents had tested positive for the virus as of April 19.
The Chicago Tribune also provided a story on the same maintenance supervisor, describing the aforementioned individual as a “super spreader” of the virus within the facility. Additionally, on April 18, 2020, ABC7 Chicago provided an article explaining that the COVID-19 outbreak at Symphony of Joliet was so significant that the Mayor of Joliet, Bob O’Dekirk, called for the Illinois Department of Public Health to launch a formal investigation into the facility’s outbreak.
Based on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Quarterly Reports of Nursing Home Violations, Symphony of Joliet was found to be in violation of several policies and procedures prescribed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In Quarter 3 of 2017 (July – September) a survey conducted on June 1, 2017, found Symphony of Joliet to have committed a Type A violation, including sections of the Code: 300.610(a), 300.1210(b), 300.1210(d)(6), and 300.3240(a). Moreover, the fine for this violation was doubled due to the violations being of sections of the Code with a high risk designation. Specifically, Symphony of Joliet was found to have failed to implement preventative fall measures, detailing one resident who suffered from a fall resulting in a right femoral neck fracture and a left forehead laceration. Furthermore, in regards to this incident, the facility did not adequately provide subsequent preventative measures to keep the resident safer, nor did it implement the hospital discharge recommended fall interventions
The Illinois Department of Public Health conducts yearly recertification procedures in which nursing homes are subjected to a review of their regulatory history and any violations occurring at the home. Furthermore, during the recertification process, when a nursing home has been found to have committed a regulatory violation, the facility is subsequently required to submit a plan of correction for how it will remedy the violation or prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.
For Symphony of Joliet, a complaint investigation survey conducted on February 26, 2020 found the facility failed to identify and provide a respiratory device needed by an ailing resident. The resident was diagnosed with several medical complications including sleep apnea, congestive heart failure, and chronic migraines which culminated in the resident’s need for a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine which she used routinely at home prior to admission to Symphony of Joliet. Although the facility was well aware of the resident’s need for the CPAP machine, at the time of this survey she had yet to be provided with one. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this failure on the part of the facility represents a lack of organization, preparation, and allocation of necessary resources.
Similarly, a complaint investigation survey conducted on October 24, 2019 found the facility failed to develop and implement interventions to prevent falls. The fact that the facility was found to have failed to implement fall interventions and prevention measures in October 2019 and then again in January 2020 demonstrates an overall failure of the facility to abide by its plan of correction which was submitted following this survey. Another survey conducted on November 12, 2019, found the facility failed to implement interventions to promote healing of residents pressure wounds and related skin alternation injuries.
As for recertification, the 2016 survey conducted on June 16, 2016 found Symphony of Joliet failed to provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care. Specifically, one resident who was noted to have chronic kidney disease and a dependence on renal dialysis, however the record at hand provides the facility implemented none of the care plan requirements regarding emergency protocols. Additionally the same survey found the facility failed to clean a resident’s perineal area after an incontinent episode in a manner that would prevent the potential development of infection and further failing to maintain adequate hygiene. Lastly, the 2016 recertification survey found Symphony of Joliet failed to provide a safe, functional, sanitary, and comfortable environment for residents, staff, and the public. Specifically, the record demonstrates the facility failed to provide a clean and sanitary area for food preparation and supply storage.
The 2017 recertification survey conducted on July 28, 2017, found Symphony of Joliet failed to immediately report, investigate, and report to the requisite state agency an allegation of misappropriation of personal property. The survey continued that this finding further represented a failure to follow the facility’s abuse policy. In a separate incident, the 2017 recertification survey detailed the facility’s failure to provide thorough and timely perineal and toileting care to residents whose care plans required such services. In addition, the toilet and bathing sections of the facility were found to be inadequate as Symphony of Joliet failed to make the strings to the emergency call lights in the bathrooms accessible to the residents. Lastly, the 2017 recertification survey explains the facility failed to serve food that was palatable for residents to consume.
The 2018 recertification survey, conducted on May 24, 2018, begins with a finding that Symphony of Joliet failed to provide grooming assistance to residents identified as needing extensive assistance from staff for activities of daily living. Specifically, failing to follow one resident’s care plan which required assistance with bed mobility, transferring, toilet use, dressing, and personal hygiene. Moreover, the facility failed to clean residents during incontinence care in a manner that would prevent potential infection. Incontinence care is described as providing care to keep resident’s clean and dry, comfortable and odor, and to prevent skin breakdowns and infections. The record in the survey explains an overall failure to follow the incontinence care policy. Additionally, the facility was found to have failed to label prescribed medications when opened and further failed to dispose of OTC (over the counter) medications previously prescribed to residents.
Similar to the 2017 recertification survey, the 2018 survey again found the facility failed to maintain food temperatures that were within the acceptable temperature range for the food the be palatable for certain residents. Lastly, the facility again was found to have failed to maintain a safe and sanitary environment. Specifically, failing to maintain sanitary conditions in the facility kitchen and failing to distribute food items in a sanitary manner in the special care unit during activities. Since these last two findings are of the same nature as those in the 2017 survey, the record once again demonstrates Symphony of Joliet’s failure to implement and follow its plan of corrections that are submitted to the Illinois Department of Health following these recertification surveys.
As for the 2019 recertification survey, conducted on June 26, 2019, provides the facility failed to assist residents identified as needing assistance with oral care, grooming, and personal hygiene, yet another failure documented in a previous recertification survey. Moreover, the facility failed to ensure that comfort devices were applied to residents based on their specific care plans, and further failed to apply skin treatment as ordered by a physician. The survey continues, Additionally, the facility is again found to have failed to ensure timely incontinence care in a manner that would prevent infections, in this instance failing to ensure that a resident’s urinary catheter lubing and bag were being properly maintained and correctly administered. This specific failure resulted in one resident being covered in urine and feces after she fell asleep.
Furthermore, the facility failed to ensure medications were properly stored as to maintain their integrity, failed to reconcile a medication taken from the wrong resident, and failed to dispose of expired medication. Yet another example of a repeat failure found in a previous recertification survey. Similar to previous recertification surveys, the facility was found to have failed to provide resident with meals served at appetizing temperatures, finding meals to be consistently cold and thus unpalatable. Lastly, Symphony of Joliet again failed to provide a safe and sanitary environment, specifically failing to ensure pots and pans used in the facility kitchen were sufficiently satisfied. These repeated findings continue to demonstrate Symphony of Joliet’s failure to implement and follow their various plan of corrections submitted in response to these recertification surveys.
Founding partner Steven M. Levin described these outbreaks in many Illinois Nursing Homes: “for many years prior to this outbreak, Symphony of Joliet operated with insufficient staff and with a lack of adherence to recognized infection control protocols. It is not surprising that they were ill equipped to handle this outbreak.”
Levin & Perconti: Chicago Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys at Law
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