A resident of Forest City Rehab and Nursing Center in Rockford, Illinois died this summer after receiving 2 doses of morphine and 2 doses of Norco, all intended for other residents of the facility. A day later, after noticing a change in condition of the resident, the staff gave her Narcan to counteract the effects of an overdose. The woman died a week later as a result of the overdose.
Despite the reason for her death, the facility itself notes that the family was not notified of the error. The information came to the public as a result of a quarterly Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) report that identifies and details nursing home violations. The report notes that Forest City did not document the overdose until the date of her death. Three days after her death the report was updated by a nurse to say “I did not notify the family. I should have.” The report also reveals that the victim’s physician was also not notified at any point in the 7 day period between the overdose and the woman’s death.
The same report details other violations, including failure to properly assist a resident while using the restroom, allowing him to fall and fracture all 4 limbs. The total dollar amount of fines assessed for all violations was a mere $27,000. Forest City Rehab and Nursing Center LLC is a for-profit nursing home that currently holds a 1 (out of 5) star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS is responsible for overseeing the safety and quality of nursing homes, ensuring that they abide by regulations in order to receive reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid.
New Nursing Home Regulations
On November 28, new nursing home regulations went into effect that would tighten the way nursing homes operate, including several revisions that would require a greater focus on patient-centered care. Nursing homes have 18 months to become fully compliant with the latest set of rules.
These changes, phase 2 of a 3 phase process, were made to the officially titled set of rules called Federal Requirements of Participation for Nursing Homes. While CMS’ goal of improving nursing home care is a worthy one, allowing authorized state agencies such as IDPH to levy $27,000 in fines for both a preventable death and neglect that allowed an elderly man to fracture 4 limbs is nothing short of ridiculous. Such a small punishment does little to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect from happening again.
It is unclear whether either of the victims at Forest City are pursuing legal action against the facility. In Illinois, we are fortunate to have access to a fair and just legal system that allows us to pursue justice for wrongful death and injuries endured from nursing home abuse and neglect. Until punishments are put in place that actually deter such egregious acts of abuse and neglect, lawsuits are the only way to send a message that this kind of care is unacceptable.
The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Levin & Perconti are nationally renowned for their ability to achieve results for victims of abusive and neglectful care. If someone you love has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, including medication errors, falls, unexplained changes in behavior or physical condition, sexual or physical abuse, or any other incident, please contact us to see if and how we can help you. Our consultations are easy, free, and confidential. Call us at 312-332-2872, toll-free at 1-877-374-1417 or complete our online case evaluation form.