A recently completed nursing home survey completed at Kenwood Care Center in Chicago, IL provides a very disturbing glimpse into life at a facility that cares for a group of predominately mentally-ill patients. One hundred forty-five of the 232 patients at Kenwood had a psychiatric diagnosis and similarly 122 of the facilities patients were receiving rehabilitative services for mental illness and mental retardation.
The extensive survey was completed at the facility over several days in January, 2010 resulted in numerous deficiencies and violations of state and federal law. In addition to the noted violations, the IDPH issued a type- A violation and a $15,000 fine against the facility
Overall, the survey at Kenwood Care Center paints a picture where mentally-ill patients seem to do as they please in a facility staffed with many inexperienced personnel handling complex patient needs.
In particular, the following themes pervade the most recent survey:
Dangerous Smoking Conditions:
Evidence of residents smoking in their rooms was present on multiple occasions. Further, many mentally ill patients were permitted to keep their own smoking materials which seemingly allowed them to smoke where and whenever they choose.
In many cases, Kenwood Healthcare failed to assess new patients to see if they smoke. Consequently, the facility was unable to track smoking patients and provide necessary accommodations for them.
Violence Amongst Patients:
Surveyors consistently heard from patients and staff of violence amongst patients. In reviewing Kenwood Healthcare Center’s incident reports over the six months prior to the survey, authorities noted that fights continually occurred on the facilities elevator and smoking areas— yet staff did nothing to reduce these incidents by creating a plan to correct these problems.
Also, despite the fact that the psychiatrists of the patients were to be notified if the patients were involved in a violent event, most of the time there was no notification. Similarly, Kenwood protocol calls for 72 hour observation of patients who were involved in physical altercations, yet when questioned by surveyors, Kenwood staff were unaware of what the policy actually contained.
Consistently Eloping Patients:
Several patients were noted to elope, or leave Kenwood, without the knowledge of staff at the facility. Even after some patients had eloped from the facility several times, the facility failed to implement corrective measures that would prevent future occurrences.
In some circumstances, patients left the facility and wandered into the community during times during the harsh Chicago winter, putting them at risk for complications due to exposure to the elements— and even hypothermia.
Patients With Violent Histories That Go Undocumented:
When state surveyors looked into the criminal histories of patients involved in physical or verbal altercations, they discovered many had extensive criminal histories— and in some cases, active warrants for their arrests. Yet, for the most part, these criminal histories were notably absent from the patients chart.
Kenwood’s failure to keep track of patients with violent histories restricts that staffs’ ability to monitor patients and ensure the safety of particularly vulnerable patients who may be at risk for physical or psychological harm.
Certainly, the above findings are disturbing and are in clear violation of nursing home regulations that stipulate;
The facility mist provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychological well-being of the resident, in accordance with each resident’s comprehensive assessment and plan of care. Adequate and properly supervised nursing care and personal care shall be provided to each resident to meet the total nursing and personal care needs of the resident.
If you have believe a family member is suffering from mistreatment at Kenwood Healthcare Center, we would honor the opportunity to discuss the situation with you and discuss your legal rights. As always, our consultations are free of charge and completely confidential.
For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.