Nursing homes must be careful who they admit to keep residents safe from potential harm by other residents says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.
Nursing homes are often desperate to get as much income as possible and sometimes that means admitting people who shouldn’t be there. With the closing of state facilities for those with serious psychiatric issues some of those who otherwise would be placed there end up in nursing homes instead. Other residents may be substance abusers supposedly getting treatment. Having such a mixed population in a nursing home can be a recipe for disaster if elderly patients are not kept safe from others who may pose a threat, says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne. If you have concerns about potential abuse of a loved one by another resident, and would like to read more about nursing home neglect read Ask Questions to Find the Right Nursing Home says Boca Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer.
One Illinois facility is an example of what can go wrong. As reported in the Chicago Tribune1, state and federal regulators are seeking to fine a Chicago nursing home more than $100,000 after five residents overdosed on heroin inside the facility earlier this year.
The Continental Nursing & Rehabilitation Center residents were hospitalized and recovered but at least two used heroin again hours after they returned, although they were supposed to be on close watch. One of them overdosed again. A sixth overdose was reported in 2015.
Continental is facing fines from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services totaling $76,000 and another $25,000 fine from the state public health department, which claims the facility failed to properly monitor and treat residents with drug addictions. Not surprisingly, Continental is contesting the fines.
Continental, which had a mix of older residents, younger adults with mental illnesses and residents who are substance abusers, did not admit deficiencies when it stated what corrective actions it would take in response to the overdoses but stated that, “The facility has ceased admitting any residents with active substance use.”
The 208 bed nursing home (which pulled in $11 million from Medicaid and Medicare last year) reported to Illinois officials in March that 108 of its residents were younger than 65, 129 had been diagnosed with mental illnesses and 29 had felony records. What can happen with this combination of residents?
- Chicago police responded to sixty reports of alleged batteries at Continental from 2011 through 2015, according to a Tribune analysis of police data.
- Police came to the Continental in October 2015 after residents told staff of drug abuse inside the facility. Staff searched rooms and found paraphernalia for cooking and shooting drugs that were turned over to police.
- Police also came to the facility in 2014 after a 61-year-old patient (admitted for treatment of bipolar disorder, depression and alcohol abuse) broke his hips and suffered a collapsed lung after he tried to escape the facility by rappelling from a 4th floor window using six sheets tied together. The resident had been drinking before his escape attempt and a subsequent test showed he had a blood alcohol level over four times the legal limit. He was found on the ground with a broken glass bottle and a beer can beside him.
Continental is part of an Indiana based company with over fifty nursing home facilities in eight states.
If a long term care facility can’t provide proper care for someone, that person should not be admitted. If such a person is younger, mentally ill and/or is using drugs the nursing home is under a duty not only to keep that person safe but all the other residents who may suffer injuries caused by such a person, reports nursing home neglect attorney Osborne. Nursing home facilities trying to profit from as wide a range of residents as possible without proper programs, management and staffing are asking for trouble for themselves and their residents.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury caused by a fellow resident of a nursing home in the South Florida area, contact Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.