The latest quarterly report released by the Illinois Department of Public Health shows that area nursing homes are continuing to violate basic health and safety needs of residents, putting these residents at risk of great harm. Unfortunately, evidence of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse is still being widely reported by residents of many Illinois nursing facilities. Our Chicago nursing home lawyers know that abuse and neglect often go unreported, so the problem may be even more widespread than health department investigators recently revealed.
According to the IDPH report from January through March of 2011, 29 nursing home facilities in our area violated the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and compromised the safety of elderly residents. Many of these facilities received serious "Type A" violations, resulting in large financial fines and license revocations. A violation that is classified as "Type A" is one of the most serious kinds of violations, including only acts of physical or mental harm that result in a substantial probability of death or serious harm to a resident.
A state health inspection at the Waterfront Terrace nursing home in downtown Chicago uncovered some of the most disturbing violations. At least nine identified criminals were found living at the nursing facility, however no risk assessments or treatment plans were performed for any of them. Failing to determine the appropriate amount of supervision that these criminal offenders needed resulted in serious consequences. Police were called to the nursing facility after one resident with a history of burglary and aggravated assault brutally attacked his roommate. The injuries were so severe that the victim required hospital care and stitches to his nose. The attacker previously exhibited aggressive behavior towards his roommate, grabbing him after a verbal altercation and even shoving a chair at him on one occasion. But nursing home workers carelessly and routinely ignored this serious nursing home abuse, and did not take any actions that would have prevented the violent physical attack.
Waterfront Terrace was also cited for other nursing home violations, including one instance in which a resident was found lying in a pool of blood, then passed away at a hospital two hours later. State investigators found that the injury occurred because the resident was not properly monitored after a dialysis treatment and began bleeding from his arm shunt.
Other Illinois nursing homes recently violated patient health and safety standards, including Alden Terrace of McHenry Rehab. Reports show that workers at the facility failed to protect two dementia patients from inappropriate sexual contact. This resulted in the sexual abuse of one patient to another on the Alzheimer's unit. Similar instances of nursing home negligence and abuse were reported at several local nursing facilities.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act protects the elderly from these kinds of gross violations, and nursing facilities that fail to comply with state regulations face legal consequences. The Act requires background checks on all residents and individualized plans of care. A nursing home resident that poses a special risk to others, such as a resident with a criminal background or cognitive impairments, requires a unique care plan that includes additional monitoring and check-ins to ensure the safety of other residents. Nursing home facilities that do not protect the health and well-being of vulnerable residents should be held accountable.
Our Illinois nursing home attorneys frequently receive reports of nursing home negligence and abuse and continue to advocate on behalf of victims who suffer inadequate nursing home care. State and federal regulations are in place to protect the elderly from abuse and neglect.. Facilities that violate these regulations face fines and potential nursing home negligence lawsuits.