Articles Posted in Residential Care Facilities

Doris Green was 79 years old when she was discharged to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Gadsden for a two-week stay following her hospitalization for gastroenteritis. About a week after her admission, a nurse discovered that she was in an unresponsive mental state; the physician ordered that she be transferred to a nearby hospital.

At the hospital, she underwent a CT scan of her brain and it was negative. She was then rehydrated and returned to HealthSouth.

Three days later, Green became unresponsive again with an oxygen saturation level of just 70%.  She was returned to the hospital in a coma. Doctors believe she had been given opiates. The doctors ordered two urinalyses, which were positive for opiates.  The hospital staff administered Narcan and Green responded favorably over the next few days. Although her condition stabilized, she did suffer brain damage resulting from lack of oxygen or hypoxia to the brain. She died several months later.  She was survived by her adult daughter.

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The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has adopted an amendment to the Medical Assistance Programs reducing personal need allowances for residents of assisted living facilities. The amendment to 89 Ill. Adm. Code 120 (eff. Aug. 2, 2016), Section 120.61 is entitled “Long Term Care,” which has application to the residents of long term care facilities or state-certified, licensed or contracted residential programs.

A condition of residency at one of these long term facilities is that residents must pay all of their income to the facility unless there is an exception listed in the regulations. One of the allowed deductions is an individual’s personal needs allowance. This is a part of a resident’s income that is reserved solely for the resident to use in any way he or she wishes. The rest of the person’s income is applied to the costs for the resident’s care at the facility. The state or government will pay the rest of the full costs of the residency.

This amendment returns the allowance amount from $60 per month to $50 per month for residents of Community Integrated Living Arrangements and $30 per month for residents of Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. These changes reduce the allowances back to the 2014 level.

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Jacob Saul was born prematurely with neurological deficiencies. He was later transferred to Cambridge Pediatrics Nursing Home for rehabilitation.

Jacob remained at the nursing home. At eight months of age, he was found unconscious and in respiratory arrest. It was later revealed that Jacob’s tracheostomy tube had dislodged and that his pulse oximeter machine had been turned off.  As a result of this situation, Jacob suffered profound brain damage that led to his blindness, a seizure disorder and deafness. Jacob is now 8 years old.

Jacob’s parents individually, and on his behalf, sued the nursing home alleging that it had negligently cared for Jacob by, among other things, choosing not to ensure that his medical equipment was properly connected. The Saul family’s expert asserted that, but for the improper connection of the equipment and his resulting brain damage, Jacob would have been able to walk with braces and eat without assistance even given his prematurity and neurological injuries.

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In a confidential settlement, a nursing home paid $475,000 to a seriously injured resident. The resident was listed and charted as being at a high risk for falling. However, several nursing assistants placed the resident at the edge of her bed and then left her alone.  This occurred while the resident was waiting for her dialysis appointment. The resident fell off the bed and hit her head on the floor.

The resident suffered a traumatic head injury and died one month after the date she suffered her head injuries. The resident was survived by her three adult children.

The lawsuit brought by the family of this resident alleged that the nursing home chose not to monitor the resident properly in order to prevent her fall. This case was settled as a confidential settlement.

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According to recent reports by the National Center on Elder Abuse — Administration of Aging (Department of Health and Human Services), America’s expanding elderly population has led to an increase in elder abuse.

It is predicted that by 2050, people 65 and older will make up 20% of the total U.S. population. Today, the fastest growing segment of America’s population consists of those 85 years and older. In 2010, there were about 5.8 million people 85 or older. By the year 2050, it is projected that there will be 19 million people over 85.

“Elder abuse” is defined as intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm (whether the harm is intended) to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who is in a trust relationship with the elder. Other abuse includes the failure of caregivers to provide the basic needs of an older adult or to protect the elder from harm from others.

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A 15-year-old boy, Kevin Barr, who had cerebral palsy and seizure disorder, lived at a residential care facility. Early one morning, staff at the home found Kevin unresponsive. Emergency personnel were called one hour later. However, Kevin died before the paramedics arrived at the scene. Kevin is survived by his parents and a sibling.

Kevin’s parents, individually, and Kevin’s mother on his behalf, filed a lawsuit against the residential care facility. In the lawsuit it was alleged that the care facility had chosen not to administer a critical anti-seizure medication to Kevin and then lied to the family, stating that the facility had “done everything it could” to care for Kevin before his death.

The lawsuit also charged that the defendant residential care facility had failed to promptly call 911, lied to the police by telling them Kevin’s medical file was unavailable and failed to inform the police that Kevin had missed a dose of his critically important anti-seizure medicine.

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