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Nursing Home Violations and the Need for Oversight

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2016 | Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Doctor with patient in office, nursing home abuse

Illinois nursing homes are inspected regularly to ensure the safety of residents because violations can result in injury or death. Oversight is provided by a number of public and private agencies at both the state and federal level. A nursing home abuse attorney in Woodstock can examine the details of a case if a possible nursing home violation has occurred.

Types of Nursing Home Violations

The Nursing Home Care Act gives a clear definition of abuse. Abuse is any “physical or mental injury” or sexual assault on a resident in a long term care facility. Skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities are included under the act. This act also explains the various types of violations a nursing home can receive.

AA: This is the most serious type of violation. An incident occurred that resulted in a resident’s death. The maximum fine is $25,000.

A: An incident caused mental or physical harm that resulted in injury, with the possibility of serious harm or death. The maximum fine is $12,500.

B: An incident that would likely cause more than minor mental or physical harm has occurred. The maximum fine is $1,100.

C: An incident occurred that did not cause immediate mental or physical harm, but could have if the situation had persisted. The maximum fine is $250 for 10 or more violations.

If violations are found, patients or their loved ones may consider discussing the details of the violations with a nursing home abuse attorney Woodstock.

2016 First Quarter Violations

The Illinois Department of Public Health releases quarterly reports of violations. These reports detail type A violations, which would likely cause serious harm or death.

January: 5 facilities received an “A” violation. Four of the facilities were fined the maximum amount of $25,000. Violations included failure to prevent falls, abuse from staff members, and failure to administer medication as prescribed by a physician.

February: 6 facilities received an “A” violation. Five of the facilities were fined the maximum amount. Violations included failure to prevent falls and failure to provide an adequate eating plan.

March: 3 facilities received an “A” violation, including one for sexual assault of a resident by a staff member. The other violations involved failure to prevent falls, with one of the incidents resulting in a broken hip. All three were fined the maximum amount.

The quarterly report details every incident found, including the type of violation. It is updated each quarter, depending on if the situation was remedied and if the fine was paid. The codes can be interpreted by an experienced nursing home attorney.

Oversight is Needing to Protect Loved Ones

There are several public and private agencies in Illinois responsible for ensuring the safety of nursing home residents. They include:

  • The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Care Financing Administration
  • The Bureau of Long-term Care

The IDPH receives around 19,000 complaints each year. Staff typically respond to around 5,000 of these complaints.

Anyone suspecting abuse can consult with a nursing home abuse attorney Woodstock. Investigations into abuse can result in civil and criminal penalties if negligence is found.

Choosing a Nursing Home

The decision to move a loved one to a nursing home can be difficult. Family members may not want to acknowledge that their loved one can no longer care for themselves. When a person can no longer live independently, decisions must be made regarding an alternative arrangement for care.

Often, the decision to move a loved one into a long term care facility is made after a medical emergency. It is difficult to make such an important decision during a time of crisis. Ideally, nursing homes should be researched before a decision must be made.

The specific needs of the patient will determine what kind of facility should be chosen. Memory care, mobility issues, and finances can all impact the placement of a patient.

Nursing home violations are not included on Medicaid health inspection reports. It is important that family members check the quarterly reports of violations before a facility is chosen. Family members should also be diligent in monitoring the care that their loved one receives after placement.

Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Monitor Legislation Closely

State and federal legislation is closely monitored by nursing home abuse attorneys. New legislation allows for surveillance cameras to be installed in nursing homes as long as guidelines are met. This allows for family members to monitor their loved one if they suspect abuse.

Nursing home violations continue, even with regular oversight. Anyone who suspects abuse of a loved one should consider discussing the details of the incident with a nursing home abuse attorney in Woodstock.