A recent Chicago Tribune article, “Staff, family say Latino nursing home unsafe” provided a disturbing glimpse into the conditions at the Center Home for Hispanic Elderly— a Chicago nursing home, caring for a predominately Hispanic patient-base. The article details how many basic supplies used to provide for patients’ daily needs are regularly in such short supply that families frequently bring essential supplies– like disposable gloves and undergarments– to avoid their loved ones sitting in waste.
The poor care at this Chicago Nursing Home has been verified from outside sources. Medicare’s rating system now categories the Chicago facility as a one-star overall rating (the lowest score) based upon data collected during surveys at the facilities from inspectors.
Even more alarming is the inadequate time staff spend caring for patients at the facility on a daily basis. An analysis of daily staffing time at the facility that residents received just 2.19 hours per day from staff compared with 2.71 hours per day spent with patients just six months earlier. To give this staffing level some perspective, more than 90% of nursing homes across the country provide more attention to their patients on a daily basis.
Inadequate Supplies, Inattentive Care, Patient Injury
The most alarming part of the Tribune article for me was an episode involving an elderly patient at the facility who truly suffered from the facilities neglectful care when she developed a severe urinary tract infection which progressed to the point that it had invaded her bloodstream and eventually contributed to her death.
As a lawyer who regularly represents minorities in nursing home abuse and medical malpractice cases, I was saddened to think of how many patients and families at this facility have grown to accept the overwhelming inferior care provided to patients. Given the drastic shortage of nursing homes in certain ethnically concentrated areas of Chicago, many families are faced with placing a loved one at a conveniently located facility— perhaps with some problems or shipping their loved one across town to a facility where they may not necessarily ‘fit in’.
With the publicity associated with the circumstances at Center Home for Hispanic Elderly I optimistically hope that families will begin to place pressure on management that this type of care is simply unacceptable.
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