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Lots Of Information On Nursing Homes Is Out There— It Frequently Is A Matter Of Knowing Where To Look

Information On Nursing HomesOne of the most common questions I receive is, ‘What do you know about this facility?” While I am familiar with some of the “frequent fliers” and certainly don’t mind sharing my experiences, there really is a tremendous amount of information on facilities that can be easily obtained via the internet and via states’ department of health websites and through Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare site.

While much of the information and nursing home survey findings can make for some dull reading, there really is quite a bit of material that can be accessed on individual facilities.  A the Nursing Homes Abuse Blog, I try to condense much of this information into a digestible piece for readers.  Below are some facilities that we have highlighted in our nursing home spotlight series.

The IDPH quarterly report on Nursing Home Care Act violations includes a $30,000 fine for violations relating to the area of nursing. Fox River Pavilion is a large 121 bed facility in Aurora, IL.

Medicare gave the facility an overall rating of two out of five stars (below average rating) with only one out of five stars (much below average rating) for health inspections. Between July 2009 and September 2010, the facility had 15 health deficiencies, which is seven more than the Illinois and U.S. average.

On August 20, 2010 the Illinois Department of Health issued a ‘Type A’ violation and $10,000 fine against Ambassador Nursing & Rehab Center located in Chicago, IL. The sanctions are in response to the conditions documented in July 1, 2010 survey completed at the facility that identified several problems related to patient safety and well-being.

The most troubling aspect of the survey is the fact that the facility failed to properly respond to an abusive staff member at the facility. An unidentified CNA admitted to physically abusing a paraplegic patient at the facility. In addition to the admission from the employee, the May 16, 2010 event was also witnessed by another patient and visor where they corroborated the fact that the nurse slapped and choked the patient after complaining about the way she was transferred to her wheelchair.

Three surveys; one very negligent nursing home. At least that’s what it looks like after analyzing recent Illinois Health Department data about the Northwoods Care Centre in Belvidere, IL.

The surveys, conducted in late 2010, and June 2011, highlight several areas in which the home was consistently negligent. Key among them was the failure to distribute medications on time, failure to keep residents properly fed, and failure to develop proper care plans.

Multiple surveys of the Virgil Calvert Nursing Home (also recently called “Nathan Health Care Center”) in East St. Louis, IL paint a truly dismal picture of an unsafe and unsanitary facility.

Among the most troubling aspects of the surveys are numerous accounts of roach sightings in kitchen areas. A surveyor in January 2011 spotted several dead roaches lining the shelves of the food pantry, which at the time contained residents’ nutritional supplements and tube feeding supplies.

Despite claims on its Web site that its “philosophy is one of compassion,” the Waterfront Terrace Nursing Home in Chicago appeared quite differently to recent health department surveyors.

  • Disposable razors in residents’ rooms
  • Exposed wiring in bathrooms
  • A large hole in the vending room ceiling
  • A bag of expired medications from 2007, stored alongside current medications

In a survey conducted in mid-March, inspectors found several alarming deficiencies. One of the most serious was the home’s repeated failure to effectively screen residents for severe mental illness. At least three patients had severe schizo-affective disorders, the report said, which put all 98 residents at risk.

A 90-page survey filed in September 2010 by the Illinois Health Department depicts Plaza Nursing & Rehab Center in Midlothian, IL as a chaotic place with little regard for residents’ safety and quality of life [Plaza Nursing and Rehab Center (pdf)] . In particular, Plaza failed to make shower and toilet areas safe for residents, which led to many unsupervised and life-threatening falls. According to the survey, at least nine residents suffered injurious falls.

In addition to violating patients’ right to a safe and supervised environment, Plaza staff were also guilty of:

  • Keeping water temperatures in bathrooms scalding hot
  • Accepting money from patients who asked to do them “favors”
  • Closing the patient smoking room without first notifying patients, and without providing an alternative spot
  • Failing to clean up dangerous pooling water adjacent to bathtubs
  • Serving food in an unsanitary environment, with flies
  • Administering injections without first pulling patients’ privacy curtains

For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.

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