Thousands of nursing home residents suffer some form of abuse or neglect yearly. Unfortunately, many victims cannot seek help alone or obtain justice for their suffering.

Nursing home abuse occurs in many ways, from violent incidents like physical assault to “silent” abuse like neglect. In any case, the mistreatment of a nursing home resident is illegal, and victims have the right to take legal action against any abuser, be it an employee, a visitor, or a fellow resident.

Do you suspect that abuse and neglect led to your loved one’s injuries or death while residing at Countryside Nursing Home? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can legally advocate for you and hold those responsible financially accountable on your family’s behalf.

Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Countryside Nursing Home

Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR is a 197-certified bed Medicare and Medicaid-approved for-profit nursing facility (not a continuing care retirement community) providing care and services to Cook County residents. Countryside Nursing Home is located at:

1635 East 154th Street
Dolton, IL 60419
(708) 841-9550

The rehab center Countryside Nursing Home provides care, services, and amenities to meet all the resident’s needs, including:

  • Care from Licensed Vocational Nurses
  • On-site Registered or Licensed Dietitian
  • On-site Attending Physician

Rehab Center Countryside Nursing Home Resident Safety Concerns

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides updated information on every nursing facility in the United States, including the Chicago area, providing care to Medicare patients. The star rating information lists all recent health inspections, violations, penalties, and substantiated complaints.

Many families use valuable Medicare and Medicaid information to identify the best nearby nursing homes to ensure their beloved family member receives the highest medical and daily care based on professional standards.

Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR maintains two out of five stars overall rating. The Medicare overall rating is based on:

  • Two out of five stars for health inspection
  • One out of five stars for staffing issues
  • Five out of five stars for quality measures

Failure to Ensure the Nursing Home Areas Free from Accident Hazards and Provides Adequate Supervision to Prevent Accidents – Deficiency #F0689

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated September 10, 2021, the state inspectors determined that Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR failed to ” ensure cigarette lighters were not in possession of one resident.”

The incident involved a licensed practical nurse opening a resident’s bedside dresser to get a communication book and finding a cigarette lighter, violating Safety Smoking policies of keeping cigarette lighters in a locked cart with staff access only.

Failing to Maintain a Sanitary Environment for Quarantine Residents

In a separate summary statement of deficiencies dated September 10, 2021, the state inspectors determined that Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR failed to ” perform hand hygiene after contact with optics and substances in a residence environment, failed to use appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when entering a resident room on Person Under Investigation Quarantine Caution.

Countryside Nursing Home also failed to “ensure residents under quarantine remained in the room and failed to clean and sanitize resident medical equipment after each use.

Resident to Resident Altercation

In a third summary statement of deficiencies dated December 3, 2021, the state inspectors determined that Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR failed to “monitor intervene residents or resident verbal altercation involving four residents. The failure resulted in all four residents becoming physical with each other.”

Failure to Protect Each Resident from All Types of Abuse Such as Physical, Mental, Sexual Abuse, Physical Punishment, and Neglect by Anybody – Deficiency #F0600

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated December 3, 2021, the state inspectors determined that Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR failed to “follow their policy and prevent a resident to resident assault.” The nursing home staff’s failure resulted in one resident assaulting another resident unprovoked.

The assaulting resident’s Care Plan, dated August 26, 2021, reveal that they may “exhibit aggressive behavior toward staff when redirected to come out of the breakroom.”

The injured residents felt safe in Countryside Nursing Home because the nursing staff sent the aggressive resident to another facility. There were no visible injuries observed on the injured victim’s face.

A Physical Altercation Between Residents

In a separate summary statement of deficiencies dated August 1, 2021, the state inspectors determined that Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR failed to “follow their policy related to abuse prevention and behavior management, involving a resident-to-resident altercation.”

The incident involved an injured resident who admitted on July 30, 2021, that they had gotten into a fight with another resident because “he called me the ‘N-Word’ and was very loud and disrespectful to an African-American employee.”

The injured nursing home resident stated that the “Activity Aide and I did not like the way he was screaming and getting close to the Aide. I told the resident to listen to the instructions that the Aide had given him, and he just raises his hand and backhanded me, and my glasses flew from my face.”

Failure to Ensure the Nursing Home Area Is Safe, Easy-To-Use, Clean, and Comfortable for Residents, Staff, and the Public – Deficiency #F0921

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated August 15, 2019, the state inspectors determined that Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR failed to “ensure the resident’s rooms and hallways are free of urine odor for residents residing on the C and D wings of the facility.”

Investigators also determined that Countryside Nursing “failed to ensure the air conditioning was functioning properly to maintain an ambient room temperature at comfortable levels.”

Controlling Antianxiety or Hypnotic Medication Creates A Safe Nursing Home Area

Anti-anxiety medications help reduce anxiety symptoms, such as extreme worry or panic attacks. Hypnotics or sedatives, on the other hand, help induce and maintain good sleep in patients with insomnia. Many kinds of antipsychotic medication also have a sedative effect.

Why Nursing Homes Must Control These Medications

Nursing home residents can reap significant benefits from anti-anxiety and hypnotic medication. However, these drugs often come with side effects, which can increase the risk of an accident:

  • Blurry Vision: Elevates the risk of falling or tripping over accident hazards.
  • Dizziness or Vertigo: Increases the risk of falling after standing up and not being able to avoid accident hazards while walking.
  • Fatigue: Often leads to a lack of coordination and balance, increasing fall risk.
  • Headache: Reduces a person’s concentration and balance due to discomfort, increasing the chance of falling, tripping, or slipping.

Compared to young and able-bodied individuals, these side effects have a greater impact on disabled and elderly nursing home residents. Older adults, in particular, are more prone to adverse drug effects because their bodies no longer process medications as efficiently as before.

Nursing homes are responsible for controlling the use of these medications among residents to minimize accidents, especially fall risks. The same goes for antipsychotic medication and drugs used to treat depressive symptoms.

Causes of Medication-Related Accidents

Despite the many precautions surrounding anti-anxiety and hypnotic medication, many nursing homes fail to keep residents safe from their side effects, resulting in accidents. Common causes of medication-related injuries in nursing homes include:

  • Lack of Adequate Supervision: Patients on these medications require constant supervision to monitor potential drug effects. If medicated residents are left to their own devices, they may cause harm to themselves or others due to their medication’s side effects, e.g., a resident falling down the stairs due to vertigo.
  • Improper Medication Monitoring: In some cases, nursing home staff fail to monitor residents’ drug intake and dosages, leading to under or overmedication. Either way, a resident may experience significant drug effects that can increase their risk of an accident, e.g., a patient overdosing on Xanax (an anti-anxiety drug) and falling out of bed due to extreme fatigue, a known effect of overdosing on the drug.
  • Illicit Distribution of Medication: There are cases of nursing home staff giving unprescribed medication to difficult long or short-stay residents to make them sleep. Such an act can make the patient suffer adverse drug effects, mainly since their body is not used to the medication. In addition, the medicated patient may be more likely to accidentally hurt themselves or others.

Why Nursing Homes Must Implement Policies That Prevent Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores, are skin injuries caused by prolonged pressure on a body part. Excess pressure leads to a lack of circulation, limiting the oxygen and other nutrients that reach the affected region. The skin dies as a result and may lead to infection when left untreated.

Pressure ulcers can develop over hours or days. They are divided into four stages:

  • Stage 1: The area appears red and feels warm to the touch. The patient may say that it burns, itches, or hurts.
  • Stage 2: The skin looks more damaged and may have an open sore or blister. The patient will likely complain of significant pain in the area.
  • Stage 3: The area looks like a crater due to the damage underneath the skin’s surface.
  • Stage 4: The skin is severely damaged and has an open wound. There is a significant risk of infection.

People at most risk of these injuries are bedridden or physically disabled patients with limited mobility. If your loved one cannot move for long periods or not at all, look for discolorations, sores, or wounds on their skin that might indicate pressure ulcers. They often develop on the skin that covers bony areas, such as the hips, ankles, heels, and tailbone.

Why Bedsore Prevention is Critical

Bedsores are a result of the skin dying due to a lack of nutrients, which leaves the skin and underlying tissue susceptible to infections and complications, such as:

  • Cellulitis (skin infection)
  • Bone and joint infections
  • Cancer (squamous cell carcinoma)
  • Sepsis (a potentially-life threatening immune response to infection)

Common Causes of Bedsores in Nursing Homes

People who cannot move frequently or without assistance are at risk of developing bedsores, even among short-stay residents. These injuries can develop if the blood supply is cut off for more than two to three hours.

The common causes of bedsores in nursing facilities are:

  • Neglect: Whether intentional or otherwise, neglect is the most common cause of bedsores among nursing home residents. People that require mobility assistance need frequent repositioning to relieve pressure on the body parts in contact with their bed or chair. When staff neglects these patients’ needs, the lack of circulation can form painful bedsores.
  • Short-Staffing: Neglect is not always intentional. Sometimes, it results from a lack of people to care for long and short-stay residents. Patients in understaffed facilities are more likely to develop bedsores than any other population.

Implementing an Infection Prevention and Control Program Can Improve Resident Health

When infectious agents enter the body, our immune system sends signals to the rest of the body to fight the invaders. However, the aging process slows down this immune response, making it harder to fight infection as we grow older.

Elderly residents are more prone to infection due to reduced immune function. Hence, nursing homes must implement an infection prevention and control program that includes the following strategies:

  • Outbreak Control: Older adults are not only susceptible to catching an infection, but they can also spread it to others quickly. An outbreak control protocol is crucial to prevent an infection from spreading through the population once staff has identified a positive case.
  • Disinfection: Some pathogens can live on surfaces for days. Without disinfection procedures, a resident can become infected without direct contact with a sick person.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Nursing staff must use PPE when handling an infected resident, especially those with highly contagious illnesses like COVID-19. Proper use of PPE can help prevent infectious agents from spreading to surfaces, medical equipment, and other people.
  • Proper Hand Hygiene: Keeping the hands clean can help prevent infections like cold, flu, and hand-foot-mouth disease. Nursing homes must implement proper handwashing protocols for all staff and teach residents to wash their hands properly.

In the Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR case, inspectors found multiple violations on disinfection, PPE, and hand hygiene in handling a quarantined patient, potentially putting others at risk of infection.

Why Infection Prevention and Control is Crucial for Quality Senior Care

Mild infections generally produce symptoms that can be slightly uncomfortable at best, such as a low-grade fever or a sore throat. However, some infectious diseases can cause significant health effects, such as:

  • A persistent cough, which could be a sign of pneumonia
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration
  • Swollen lymph nodes, a symptom of bacterial infection
  • High-grade fever, which can lead to seizures and other severe complications

Infection symptoms are more severe for the elderly because they are already physically compromised. Even a mild fever can be highly uncomfortable for an elderly resident, but, more importantly, the risk of severe complications and death is higher for older adults.

Mitigating the risk of infection in nursing home care facilities is crucial to the overall health of residents. Without proper prevention and control measures, residents are at an elevated risk of catching an infection, spreading it to others, experiencing severe symptoms, and even dying from their illness.

Short-stay residents are also at risk, as some infections have incubation periods of just two to three days, e.g., influenza.

Preventing Urinary Tract Infection Avoids Emergency Room Visits

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria from the skin or rectum enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract. UTIs are more common in women due to the short distance between the anus and the female urethra. They are often caused by gastrointestinal bacteria from fecal matter entering the urinary tract.

For men, the most common cause of UTI is a sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. Prostate issues can also lead to UTIs.

Common Causes of UTIs in Nursing Homes

The root cause of many UTI cases in nursing facilities is neglect, which can lead to:

  • Dehydration: Nursing home employees must ensure residents receive enough water daily. Older adults are already prone to dehydration due to continence issues and reduced thirst signals; a lack of supervision can increase the risk even further. When people do not drink enough water, their urine is more concentrated and bacteria-rich, leading to a UTI.
  • Improper Toileting Assistance: Some residents require the help of registered nurses or nursing aides when going to the bathroom. A nurse can assist the patient with wiping after defecating, but when they wipe back to front, the fecal matter may enter the patient’s urethra and cause an infection. This issue often arises from a lack of training and education or, in some cases, willful negligence.
  • Incorrect Catheter Management: When improperly handled, a catheter can be an entry point for bacteria, causing infection to the urethra or bladder. Nursing home employees must have proper training and education in catheter safety to reduce the risk of catheter-related UTIs.
  • Improper Diapering Practices: Bacteria from the anus can enter the urethra with poor diapering techniques. Similarly, lack of adequate supervision due to neglect can lead to a resident staying in a soiled diaper for too long, allowing the bacteria to spread to their urethra and the urinary tract.
  • Sexual Abuse: UTIs can result from sexually-transmitted diseases caused by sexual abuse. Forms of sexual abuse that can cause UTIs include digital stimulation or anal or vaginal penetration.

You can typically identify these issues in a facility with a low overall rating, but they can happen anywhere. Always check your loved one’s medical records at Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR to see if they have any recurring UTIs.

The Importance of UTI Prevention in Nursing Homes

A UTI can cause the following symptoms:

  • A burning feeling when urinating
  • Pelvic pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Discolored or cloudy urine

These health effects are often mild and relatively easy to treat. When left untreated, however, a UTI can lead to:

  • Recurring Infections: UTIs that occur more than once within six months.
  • Permanent Kidney Damage: A UTI can spread to the kidneys (pyelonephritis) without proper treatment. A severe kidney infection can lead to kidney scarring, blood poisoning, and even permanent kidney damage.
  • Sepsis: An untreated UTI can lead to sepsis, a potentially fatal infection complication. The risk of sepsis is exceptionally high when the infection travels to the kidneys.
  • Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome (MODS): MODS typically occurs due to sepsis. Its effects can range from mild organ dysfunction to irreversible organ failure.

Any of these consequences can lead to an untimely ER visit or, worse–a trip to the ICU. Nursing facilities must have UTI prevention training for all staff, especially registered nurses and other direct caregivers of residents.

How to Prevent Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Facilities

If your loved one is admitted to Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR or any other nursing facility, here are the following ways you can help protect them from abuse or neglect:

  1. Visit as often as you can, but keep your visits irregular so nursing staff don’t expect you and change their behavior while you are there.
  2. Check the CMS report on Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR regularly to look for deficiencies. If you believe your loved one is at risk of harm due to these deficiencies, consider transferring them to another facility, preferably one with a high overall rating.
  3. Ask your loved one about their experiences in the facility. Investigate negative feedback, if there is any.
  4. Interview nursing employees about infection prevention programs, emergency evacuation plans, medication monitoring techniques, etc. Doing so may give you an insight into the quality of care they provide residents.
  5. Report incidences of abuse or neglect in Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR to the police or the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Hire Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys to Hold the Facility Accountable

Was your loved one neglected and abused while residing in Countryside Nursing Rehab CTR or any other nursing home in Illinois? The nursing home abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help.

Contact us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Our personal injury attorneys accept all nursing home abuse cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement ensures you will pay no upfront fees until your legal team resolves your case through a negotiated settlement or jury award.


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