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chronic nursing home problems

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.

nursing home security failure

Nursing Home Resident Was Smothered to Death by Signed-In Visitor

Police in Florida have arrested William Hawkins, 47, after being charged with breaking into the Tiffany Hall Nursing & Rehab Center in Port St. Lucie and smothering a 95-year-old resident to death with a pillow. The man matched the description provided by staff members and was also listed as a visitor for the victim. The murder happened in January 2020.

The man reportedly confessed to the crime while speaking to his estranged sister in jail and explained that the nursing home resident had written a book about him that upset him. According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Hawkins answered “yes” when asked if he smothered the victim and confessed to planning the killing for years.

nursing home medicine stolen
Doctors, nurses, and other nursing home staff are more often being caught and charged with prescription medication theft and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The most appealing of all include opioids, powerful medications prescribed by physicians for nursing home residents with moderate to severe pain, and those suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Residents who are taking opioids are also more commonly prescribed pain adjuvants and other addictive or ‘street profitable’ medications that are likely to be stolen by staff. These may include controlled substances such as Benzodiazepines. Many nursing home residents receive Benzodiazepines to treat anxiety, seizures, panic disorders, depression, muscle relaxation, and insomnia. These drugs are also frequently stolen or abused by nursing home staff members.

Some of the most common opioids and Benzodiazepines that are frequently stolen from residents include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)

bed sores kill patient

Nursing Home Resident Was Humiliated With “Lap Dance” Before Dying from Bed Sores, Malnutrition, Sepsis

The family of Fred Pittman, an 84-year-old man who died after a stay at Cumberland Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the home, alleging he was a victim of negligence. According to the suit, the man was a long-term care patient at the facility from late January through mid-February 2018. The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court, alleges staff at Cumberland Manor neglected to “allocate sufficient resources to adequately provide” and otherwise “exercise reasonable care” and failed to:

  • prevent and timely treat injuries

Elderly Woman Attacked

Convict Walked Into Nursing Home and Sexually Assaulted Elderly Woman

A $50 million claim has been made against a California nursing home after a convict snuck in and sexually abused an 88-year-old woman, according to San Diego news source, NBC7. Lawyers for the victim’s family say shortly after 49-year-old Lusean Arline was released on parole, he welcomed himself through a Hillcrest nursing home’s unlocked back door and then proceeded to the second floor and sexually attack an elderly resident in her room. The report further explained that the woman was taken to a local hospital where she was treated for the rape, a broken arm, and emotional stress.

Nursing Home Negligence ‘Opened the Door’ to Violent Crime

Senior Living and Music

New Study Finds Hopeful Link Between Patients with Dementia and Music

Dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, is “one of the only top-10 causes of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association in Illinois. The majority of individuals diagnosed with dementia symptoms grow to rely on care provided by a nursing home to help manage their daily activities, medications, financial needs, and assist them while residing in a safe environment.

For decades, physicians and families of nursing home residents have fought against the misuse of antipsychotic drugs to treat dementia symptoms rather than look to alternative treatments. Researchers now say findings related to how the human brain responds to a familiar song at super speed could be used to help calm patients battling dementia.

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Your Holiday Nursing Home Visit Could Be Lifesaving

During the busy holiday season, an already understaffed nursing home care team becomes even more limited, leaving many needs of nursing home residents to go unmet. For the workers who are on staff, they become stressed and easily overwhelmed, creating a rise in the number of incidences of neglect and abuse of residents. This season, we encourage the family and friends of those residing in skilled nursing facilities to make it a priority to visit frequently and unexpectedly check-in on those responsible for providing care. Even a weekly call or stop during this time may be enough to ensure the quality in the services you expect for your mother, father, sister or grandparent is being met.

Unfortunately, even substandard care is sometimes coated, and dangerous abuse and neglect symptoms are hard first to recognize. During your visits, be sure to look for these troublesome signs of maltreatment provided by the Nursing Home Abuse Center. Be sure to report any findings or concerns you have immediately.

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.

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