Articles Tagged with nursing home staff

Nurse Yelling at Patient

Report Proves Illinois Could Do Better at Investigating Nursing Home Complaints

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report in 2017 that showed several states, including Illinois, were missing the opportunity to lead a timely investigation of the most pressing nursing home complaints. These complaints included neglectful occurrences such as residents being left to sit in their urine and feces for hours, residents being admitted to the hospital because of preventable infections, and inappropriate social media posts by nursing home employees.

According to the OIG, these events will typically fall into two types of serious complaint categories that must be addressed within a specified timeframe.

Poor Nursing Home Care

71 Illinois Nursing Homes Named in Third Quarter Violation Report

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released its Third Quarter Report of Nursing Home Violators for 2019. IDPH is responsible for ensuring nursing homes comply fully with mandatory state regulations. This report dates July 2019 thru September 2019. It highlights 71 Illinois facilities cited for various 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.

Violations, no matter how small in detail, should be taken seriously, especially since history proves a majority of these facilities will become repeat and more serious offenders. Besides, several of those cited this quarter are large facilities that choose to overwork, underpay, and overburden staff. Leaving these workers with too little of resources and too many residents to care for is a clear sign that abuse and neglect of residents is present.

Elder Woman Struggling

Nursing Home Caregivers Charged with Financial Exploitation of Elderly Resident

Grace Watanabe is a 98-year-old woman who had her life savings robbed of her by two former nursing home caregivers employed at Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park, located at 2437 N. Southport Avenue in Chicago.

Last year, Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert, with the aid of Levin & Perconti attorneys Steven Levin and Mike Bonamarte, filed a civil lawsuit accusing the workers of stealing $750,000 from Watanabe while she was residing at Symphony of Lincoln Park from 2009 – 2018. It was her bank that flagged the suspicious account activity.

dementia patients

Dementia Residents Are Easy Targets for Nursing Home Abusers and Bullies

For nursing home residents with dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, daily care is largely dependent on others. Nursing home workers of many types assist these patients in managing daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating, exercising, managing their medications, and even overseeing finances. Dementia patients require extra attention and guided support as they are naturally prone to higher personal injury rates, infection, and falls but also more likely to become a victim of abuse and neglect, have their privacy violated and also be bullied by both nursing home workers and other residents. All residents, no matter what their situation, have the right to privacy, dignity, respect, and freedom. They should be treated with consideration and be free from all types of mental and physical abuse.

It’s important to remember that nursing homes must meet these federal residents’ rights requirements to continue participation in Medicare or Medicaid. If not, they must be held accountable.

nursing home abuse

What To Do If You See A Nursing Home Resident’s Rights Being Violated On Social Media 

Nursing home employees are crucial in helping identify violators of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, including the reporting of other workers who choose to document these violations on personal Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat accounts or through private text messages. A recent example of this ‘social showcase of abuse’ came through Levin & Perconti’s representation of a 91-year-old woman who was taunted, and her privacy violated by two care aides formerly employed by Abington of Glenview Nursing Home in Glenview. The workers, Brayan Cortez and Jamie Montesa, taunted Margaret Collins, an elderly resident with dementia and then shared their abusive behavior within their community of followers on Snapchat. It was a former employee – still connected to the workers via the social network – who saw the video and made the right choice to alert the resident’s family of it.

At Levin & Perconti, we recognize and applaud the many overworked and underpaid care workers who ultimately save lives by reporting their co-workers, managers, and even sometimes their friends who choose to disregard the care, privacy, and treatment of nursing home residents in Illinois. But we also know there are many more workers afraid to report these incidents in fear of retaliatory actions made against their careers by the nursing home industry. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act & Illinois Whistleblower Act protects all workers from retaliation for reporting or threatening to report a violation of the law or regulation concerning the care and privacy of nursing home residents.

nursing home attorneys

Aperion Care Fined After Dementia Resident Was Sexually Assaulted 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has fined an Aperion Care nursing home in Jacksonville $25,000 for an alleged resident-to-resident sexual assault. According to the state agency’s report of Illinois nursing home violators, an investigation found the facility to have failed at adequately assessing and identifying sexual vulnerability and resident-to-resident abuse.

Here is what was found through IDPH’s report:

nursing home snapchat video

Video of Dementia Resident Taunted by Nursing Home Caregivers Was Shared on Social Media 

Levin & Perconti is representing the family of a 91-year-old woman after two of her care aides, formerly employed by Abington of Glenview Nursing Home in Glenview, violated the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and state privacy laws through abuse and the use of social media. The workers, Brayan Cortez and Jamie Montesa, were caught publishing a Snapchat video of themselves taunting Margaret Collins, an elderly resident with dementia. Snapchat is a multimedia app and popular social media channel used by over 180 million people every day. Each post made is called a “snap.”

The video went public just days before the Christmas holiday in 2018 and showed Collins lying in bed and visibly upset from being taunted by employees throwing a hospital gown at her several times, a clothing item her family says Abington workers knew would make her distressed. The video was captioned with “Margaret hates gowns,” and the “snap” was decorated with two laughing face emojis. A former employee saw the video and shared it with the resident’s family.

poor elder care

Nursing Home Chain Failures Highlight a Greater Need for Ownership Regulation and Closer Government Review 

Some of the most troubling elder abuse and neglect stories stemmed from nursing home private ownership in the U.S. recently emerged thanks to an NBC News investigation featuring a man named Joseph Schwartz and his responsibilities over nursing home and long-term care facility chain, Skyline Healthcare. The mogul swiftly built his empire out of a small New Jersey office and then across the Midwest. It failed miserably leaving life-long pain and suffering for more 7,000 elderly Americans in more than 100 facilities in 11 states.

Massachusetts: Schwartz told staff there was no more money to fund all of his nursing homes or to pay them. The care team was buying toilet paper with personal funds to help residents. Patients were left for days in their feces due to staffing cuts and no one to help them. When some of the homes closed, 60 residents had nowhere to go, and family members were left uninformed of their loved one’s displacement. In March of 2019, the final three former Skyline Healthcare nursing homes in Massachusetts were closed and placed in receivership after Schwartz agreed to surrender licenses.

nursing home abuse attorneys

New Rule May Help Justify Antipsychotic Drug Use in Nursing Homes 

For some nursing home residents battling psychosis and severe mental disorders conditions such as schizophrenia, antipsychotic drugs may help when prescribed and administered responsibly. But for decades these narcotics that come with a “black box” warning and dangerous side effects have been overused in dementia residents to hush or lessen their needs on nursing home staff, despite rules against the misuse of these drugs as chemical restraints and drugging patients without their consent.

Earlier this month, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule that could make the use of antipsychotic drugs such as Clozapine, Abilify, and others easier to come by through simplifying “the survey process and reduce improper deficiency citations, as well as remove potential obstacles for mental health professionals to provide quality care for residents.”

understaffing legislation

Slammed with a New Law and Bigger Fines, Will Illinois’ Nursing Homes Finally Start Providing Enough Care for Residents?

In June 2019, Illinois lawmakers, sparked by a bill sponsored by state Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, passed legislation in support of increasing fines and penalties for nursing homes who are not meeting minimum standards for staffing and also provided $240 million to fill a $649 million projected funding gap between the state and federal government. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will receive $70 million of the newly budgeted state dollars to build-up nurse staffing. The bill also demands better communication between family members of loved ones who reside in nursing homes so they can be informed of staffing challenges that may interrupt or delay the level of care expected.

Several groups and elder organizations supported, endorsed, and pushed the legislation including:

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The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
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