BRIA of Belleville
If you have a loved one living in assisted living, do you know the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect? When you helped your family move into their nursing home, the possibility of abuse might have been in the back of your mind, but you were probably too busy managing the logistics of their move and learning about their new home to worry about the “what ifs.”
That’s understandable. Moving a relative into assisted living can be a busy and emotional time. However, to help them stay safe and healthy, now is a good time to learn a little more about elder abuse in nursing homes for just in case.
You might be surprised to learn that most cases of elder abuse occur at the hands of friends and family. However, as more aging Americans move into nursing homes, elder abuse in these facilities is on the rise. That’s why it’s important for loved ones of nursing home residents to keep in touch with them. Many nursing home residents suffer from cognitive disabilities that will prevent them from recognizing or reporting abuse themselves. Furthermore, abuse victims of all ages and abilities often suffer from shame, embarrassment, or fear that discourages them from reporting.
You can help prevent and stop the abuse of your family member by visiting often. Residents who receive outside visitors are less likely to be targeted. These visits also allow you to notice if anything is different or wrong with your relative. Abuse comes in many forms and can manifest in even more ways.
For instance, you might see signs of an injury or decline in health that indicates physical abuse or neglect. Neglect may also be detected by poor hygiene or a dirty bed or room. Changes in behavior can indicate any type of abuse. Emotional abuse is the most difficult to catch unless there is a witness or your loved one can tell you that they are being verbally attacked or otherwise disrespected.
The general rule of thumb is if you become aware of an unexplained injury, illness, or behavioral change in your loved one, ask the nursing home staff about it. If you see troubling behavior from the staff, if your relative tells you they’re being mistreated, or if accidents become a pattern, speak up and ask for an investigation and preventative measures.
Preventing Nursing Home Abuse
Of course, it’s always best that abuse never happens to begin with. We’ve learned that often the nursing homes where abuse is more likely are the same ones that receive low ratings from Medicare. Each year Medicare awards certified nursing homes an overall rating based on a five-star system that grades them on such categories as health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. The lower a nursing home’s ratings, the more questionable their performance. You can find these ratings on medicare.org.
Medicare also publishes annual health inspection reports for each nursing home on its website. These reports can give you additional insight into the deficiencies found at a facility so you can see which locations have the most or worst deficiencies and which have fewer or more minor flaws. With the information on these health inspection reports and the Medicare ratings, families and individuals can get a good idea of what nursing homes most likely offer safe, quality care and which ones to steer clear of.
In addition to researching nursing homes on medicare.gov, you can also visit prospective nursing homes in person to see for yourself what they are like. Of course, the average person doesn’t know what type of things a health inspector looks for, but you can get the general feel of a place by touring it and speaking to staff. On your visit, note the cleanliness of the facility and friendliness of staff. You can even ask for permission to speak with current residents.
You should also bring questions to ask that help you understand their policies and procedures for preventing and addressing abuse. You can ask about their staff to resident ratio, staff qualifications, and what their procedure for reporting abuse is. The best nursing homes have a high staff to resident ratio and employ multiple registered nurses. Every nursing home should have a comprehensive procedure in place for reporting grievances like abuse that they give to residents and their families as well as have posted somewhere publicly visible.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
Hopefully you will never need it, but when your loved one enters assisted living, ask the facility for a copy of the grievance procedure if they haven’t already given you one. In the case of abuse or any other serious complaint against the facility, you will need to follow it, so it’s best to have it in hand ahead of time.
If you ever suspect or know your relative is being abused, follow this grievance procedure to report your concerns. Additionally, you can also speak directly to an authority figure at the nursing home, such as a staff supervisor or the facility administrator. They should be able to help you take any necessary next steps. They should also open an investigation, notify the proper local authorities, and take appropriate corrective measures to prevent further harm.
Ask to be kept abreast of the investigation and what they do to keep your relative safe, so you know the matter is being handled. If you ever feel that nursing home management is not doing enough to keep your loved one out of harm’s way, you may need to seek outside help. Your relative’s doctor, your local long-term care ombudsman, or the state licensing agency may be able to offer additional resources or take action on your behalf.
About BRIA of Belleville
150 N 27th St.
Belleville, IL 62226
To help you better identify higher quality nursing homes and avoid the struggling ones, Levin & Perconti is glad to publish on our own site information from medicare.org about Illinois facilities. We hope this gives you one more resource to help you find the best possible residence for an elderly loved one.
BRIA of Belleville accommodates both short- and long-term residents and provides comprehensive health care services such as 24-hour nursing care, hospice care, dementia services, palliative care, respiratory, physical, occupational, and speech therapies, and more.
Medicare gives BRIA of Belleville an abysmally low rating of Much Below Average due to its Below Average quality measures rating, Much Below Average staffing rating, and Much Below Average health inspection rating. The facility also had 10 health citations during its last health inspection. A sample of these deficiencies is below.
7/24/2018 Failure to honor the resident’s right to organize and participate in resident/family groups in the facility. The facility failed to act promptly on the grievances and recommendations of a resident group meeting. Three residents stated that they did not feel that the facility took their group complaints about cold food, staff talking on personal phones during shifts, staff ignoring call lights, and the lack of an awning for smokers seriously. Group meeting notes cited some of these complaints as being brought up as early as a year and a half before and residents still didn’t feel they had been adequately addressed.
7/24/2018 Failure to develop and implement policies and procedures to prevent abuse, neglect, and theft. A staff member failed to follow the abuse policy to ensure that residents are not involuntarily secluded or verbally abused. An activities aid reportedly locked 4 residents out of the building for 15-20 minutes and was heard calling them “dummies” and threatening to teach them a lesson if they did not listen to her. They were trying to finish a smoke break when she wanted to lock the door for the day. One resident was upset enough that she made plans to be discharged from the facility and all had to be assessed for any harm done from being left outside in hot weather.
7/24/2018 Failure to ensure that a nursing home area is free from accident hazards and provides adequate supervision to prevent accidents. The facility failed to implement safety measures to prevent falls for a resident. The resident has a history of falls and injuries from falls. Her care plan directed staff to perform hourly checks at night with no end date, but hourly checks had not been documented for the previous 2 months.
Levin & Perconti, Nursing Home Abuse Law Experts
Discovering that a relative you love has been abused in assisted living can be heartbreaking and confusing. That’s why you need the experts on your side. If you or a family member have suffered harm from abuse at BRIA of Belleville or another Illinois nursing home, Levin & Perconti can help. We are nationally recognized experts in nursing home abuse law, and we will use our expertise and experience to win your case. If you’re ready to learn more, click or call Levin & Perconti at 888-424-5757 any time for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: The above health inspection findings are taken from public records kept and published by Medicare and the state of Illinois and are not complete. Levin & Perconti cannot confirm that this page’s content includes the latest information available. Any corrections or additions made to these public records after publication of this page will not be found here. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.il.gov or medicare.gov. This page is a legal advertisement and informational resource for visitors and is not endorsed by the named facility or any government agency. Levin & Perconti does not have any affiliation with the named facility.
Not only were they so professional but also so caring and thoughtful. It was very difficult going over the facts in our mother's case but they were so compassionate and understanding and allowed us to be with them every step of the way. We were able to sit in on the depositions and we were really able to see how hard they worked on our behalf.