Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Sexual Assault in Nursing HomesThe public always reacts with shock upon learning that another helpless nursing patient was sexually assaulted by the person paid to provide his or her case. What the public is oblivious to, however, is just how common this occurrence has become and why it is so important to take every precaution possible before trusting others with the safety of those who you hold dear. We would all like to believe that the nursing home administrators, health inspectors and government agencies are working diligently on behalf of the victims of these heinous crimes, but many of the victims are deprived of a voice, and the perpetrators walk free.

How Nursing Homes and Authorities are Turning a Blind Eye to the Issue

It is terrifying to think that our loved ones are vulnerable to the whims of sexual predators when they are in their weakest state. Thousands of nursing home patients find themselves with medical conditions or injuries that make it impossible for them to fight back when caregivers, other residents or even their friends or family members commit unthinkable acts toward them. We would like to believe that steps are being taken to prevent the abuse and to bring justice to those who commit these deeds.

Swallowing Issues Lead to Choking AccidentsAs people age, they tend to develop challenges with swallowing. Research has shown that issues with swallowing can occur even in elderly people with no serious medical conditions. Presbyphagia is a term that refers to these swallowing problems that come with aging.

In nursing homes, the potential for injuries is significant among patients by default. Elderly people in nursing homes are going to be prone to disease and injury—like with swallowing problems and choking—in many instances. Nursing home staff should be carefully trained to anticipate such problems and ideally to prevent them whenever possible.

Whether you have a parent in a nursing home, you are a patient in a nursing home, or you are a nursing home staff member, it is important to be aware of swallowing issues in the elderly and the necessity of preventing choking accidents resulting from such issues.

Ways Nursing Homes Can Help Prevent Bed SoresEveryone has heard complaints about how nursing homes take care of patients. While not all nursing homes are negligent in their treatment of residents and patients, there is no denying how commonly issues like bedsores show up. Since nursing homes and their staff are under constant scrutiny these days by the families of residents and the public in general, it is important that they take extra precautions to avoid unnecessary patient suffering, illnesses, disease and neglect.

Preventing bedsores is one area where nursing homes could excel in their treatment of patients. Bedsores are a challenge for any long-term care facility because they are not always easy to prevent. By looking more closely at the way they take care of patients and the options they have for avoiding more common and relatively minor health issues for those patients, nursing homes can improve their image and better serve their patients.

What Causes Bedsores?

There are laws in place that are supposed to protect elderly nursing home residents from abuse and neglect and enforcement procedures established to ensure the law is followed. But laws and procedures are only effective if they are faithfully carried out, which is not the current state of things in the U.S. Clearly, the system that is supposed to protect our vulnerable elderly is badly broken.

Two U.S. senators from Pennsylvania have just released to the public a government-generated list of several hundred nursing homes that were flagged as among the worst in the country, but whose names until now were being withheld by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal entity responsible for oversight of the nursing care industry. They include 18 nursing facilities in Illinois.

CMS annually inspects nursing homes throughout the U.S. and rates them for quality according to a five-star system, publishing its detailed findings on the Nursing Home Compare website. CMS identifies the most troubled facilities for inclusion in its Special Focus Facility (SFF) program, which entails extra scrutiny and oversight of consistently poorly performing homes where inspectors have documented abuse and neglect. The SFF program targets facilities that “substantially fail” to meet the standards of care mandated by federal regulations.

Alzheimer's Patients Financial BurdenAlzheimer’s Disease will cost the American public over $259 billion in 2017 alone and has been classified the most expensive disease to treat— just ahead of illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart failure. Families are often horrified when they learn that a loved one has been diagnosed with this disease because of its progression over time and the lack of a cure. Alzheimer’s patients will inevitably require some form of in-home care or ongoing treatment and their families will normally shoulder the financial cost of care along with emotional turmoil and stress.

Families of Alzheimer’s Patients Crippled by Expenses

A recent study determined that just under half of the patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease will receive care from family members who make personal sacrifices to pay for their treatment. These sacrifices are often the choice to put off a family trip or not to make a big ticket purchase but can become more burdensome for those who are already on a tight budget. Some families must consider whether they wish to continue eating the same quality of food or if they can afford other necessities while providing for a loved one with this disease.

sedentary patients have higher risks of developing bed soresDecubitus Ulcer is derived from the Latin term which means “to lay down.” These ulcers can occur in the form of an open skin wound that cold penetrate the surrounding tissues including the muscle and bone. They are most likely to occur in the case of people who have restricted mobility or those who have been bedridden or immovable for a long period. It is most likely to occur to patients admitted to nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities.

When someone remains in the same position for a longer period without getting any pressure relief, the blood supply can slow down leading to the development of decubitus ulcer. If the nursing home staff attending to the patient does not identify and treat the decubitus ulcer, the small ulcer can soon turn into a large and open wound with grave medical complications and even lead to death.

Even though decubitus ulcers can affect any individual who has limited mobility, it is most likely to occur in patients admitted to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals. However, most of the time it is attributed by the staff as a part of patients’ aging process, which is an incorrect and erroneous impression created on the mind of the patients and their relatives.

Nurses who are Underpaid who Continue to Take Care of Nursing Home PatientsFor years, a crisis has been brewing in the nursing home industry where certified nursing assistants have received low wages and poor/no benefits while providing care to their residents. Many of these nursing assistant jobs require the employee to work erratic hourly schedules for poor benefits, little pay, and usually no opportunity to advance in their career. These jobs have been associated with high injury rates and high turnover.

Approximately 50% of all nursing assistants in the United States live well below the federal poverty level. Low pay often results in the need to work longer hours, which could cause fatigue and place the resident’s health in danger. The problem with underpaying and understaffing is likely to increase significantly in the years ahead, as the last of the baby boomers enter their retirement years, and the need for additional nursing home beds rises.

According to the US Bureau of Labor, the number of nursing home workers across America has doubled over the last decade with many more jobs likely available by 2024. Statistics show that the population of Americans over 85 years old will likely be doubled by 2030 where most will require some level of professional skilled nursing care at a facility or in their home.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) conducts regular investigations, surveys and inspections of Nursing Facilities, Assisted Living Homes and Rehabilitation Centers statewide throughout the year. The efforts of the surveyors and inspectors can quickly identify any violation of regulations as outlined by the Nursing Home Care Act. When surveyors identify a deficiency or violation, state and federal nursing home regulators can take quick action to impose severe penalties in monetary fines.

The Public Health Department routinely publishes their publicly available findings online through Quarterly Nursing Home Reports with detailed descriptions of serious problems, violations, and deficiencies. During the first quarter of 2018, surveyors found numerous serious deficiency and violations at the facility’s listed below. Each one was cited for multiple Type A (severe violations) and Type AA (extreme violations) that resulted in fines that ranged from $12,500-$50,000. These facilities include:

Aperion Care Oak Lawn

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) conduct routine inspections, investigations, and surveys of all nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and assisted-living facilities throughout the year across the state. The inspectors typically arrive at the facility unannounced to determine the level of care every resident is being provided and identify any violation of regulations as outlined by the Nursing Home Care Act. When surveyors find a deficiency or violation, federal and state nursing home regulators usually take quick action to enforce regulations and impose severe penalties in monetary fines.

The dedicated nursing home neglect attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC remains committed to posting publicly available information so families can make a fully decision about where to place a loved one who requires the highest level of skilled nursing care. If you suspect that your loved one was abused, mistreated or neglected in an Illinois nursing home, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a free, initial consultation with our experienced attorneys to discuss your legal options and rights. We provide every client a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, meaning you pay us only when, and if, our law firm is successful in resolving your case.

The Public Health Department makes their findings publicly available online through Quarterly Nursing Home Reports. These reports include detailed descriptions of serious deficiencies, violations, and problems. During the second quarter of 2018, surveyors found numerous serious violations and deficiencies at the nursing homes listed below. Each of these nursing centers were cited for multiple Type A (severe violations) or Type AA (extreme violations) that resulted in fines that ranged from $25,000-$50,000. These nursing homes include:

Medication Errors and Falls in Nursing HomesRockford, Illinois – The quarterly report released by the IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) in the fall of 2017 revealed that Forest City Rehab & Nursing Center was cited for multiple violations. The nursing facility is located at 321 Arnold Ave. in Rockford. The report revealed that the facility was fined $29,400 for one Type A violations and two Type B violations. Type A and AA violations are the most serious violations that could or did result in a resident’s death.

The violations were identified in two different state surveys conducted in June and July 2017. In a summary statement of deficiencies dated July 18, 2017, the state investigator noted that the “facility failed to administer medications in a manner to avoid a significant medication [mistake] that resulted in [the resident] receiving [four other residents’] opioid medications.”

A Horrific Medical Administering Mistake