Heritage Health Mount Zion
It’s estimated that roughly 5 million senior citizens suffer from elder abuse each year. This abuse comes in many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial. The elderly are also at risk of neglect, which is the failure to adequately fulfill caretaking obligations. While neglect doesn’t sound as bad as outright abuse, it constitutes more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse and can be just as dangerous for a frail or vulnerable adult’s health and wellbeing.
While most elder abuse and neglect is perpetrated by family members, nursing homes and other assisted living and elder care facilities have their fair share of abuse and neglect too. It is easy for staff to neglect their responsibilities to nursing home residents when they have so many patients to attend to. Little but important tasks easily slip through the cracks and may not be noticed by supervisors or visiting family members.
Unfortunately, even small mistakes and oversights can be dangerous to elderly adults with compromised health. Miscommunication or failures to update care plans can mean they do not receive proper medical treatment. Forgetting to follow established protocol for proper sanitation can cause serious infections and illness. Failure to supervise residents with impaired cognitive abilities can put them and other residents in danger. All of these and other oversights cause nursing home residents across America discomfort, injury, and even death every day.
Most of these mistakes will not be on purpose, but they are becoming increasingly common as the elder care industry struggles with a growing number of seniors requiring care combined with staffing shortages. So how can individuals and families protect themselves or loved ones from this kind of neglect?
The attorneys at Levin & Perconti think they have the key. As experienced elder and nursing home abuse attorneys, we’ve seen the worst that Illinois nursing homes have to offer.
Over the years we’ve discovered that looking at the ratings and health inspection reports published on medicare.org can offer a lot of insight into the quality of care and living conditions found at individual nursing homes. We’ve seen a pattern where low rated facilities with a larger number of or more severe health inspection deficiencies tend to have higher reports of neglect and abuse. On the other hand, facilities with high ratings and cleaner health inspection reports typically make good on their promises of compassionate, professional care and safety for residents.
We hope to help Illinois residents looking for reputable nursing homes find ones where they or relatives can be comfortable and well cared for by sharing with you this information taken from medicare.org for specific facilities such as Heritage Health Mount Zion as well as additional tips for protecting nursing home residents from harm.
About Heritage Health Mount Zion
Heritage Health Mount Zion is a Medicare-certified facilitywith 75 beds andspecializes in rehab-to-home short-term therapy and also offers skilled nursing, hospice care, respite care, and a variety of therapies for short- and long-term residents.
Medicare gives Heritage Health Mount Zion a mere Average overall rating due to its Average health inspection and staffing ratings and an Above Average quality measures rating.
In addition to these ratings, Medicare also publishes recent health inspection reports so the public can see the specific deficiencies found at a nursing home and get an inside look at the goings on there. Below is a sample of the deficiencies found during the most recent health inspection at Heritage Health Mount Zion.
3/13/2018 Failure to protect each resident from the wrongful use of the resident’s belongings or money. The facility failed to prevent the misappropriation of two residents’ medications by an employee. A nurse admitted to taking medication from the facility that belonged to two residents for his own use.
3/13/2018 Failure to develop and implement policies and procedures to prevent abuse, neglect, and theft. The facility failed to complete a thorough abuse investigation when a nurse stole medication from two residents. The investigation file did not contain any written statements from the nurse, other staff, or the residents. No interviews were conducted after the nurse resigned, and it was not determined if the nurse had stolen other medication besides what he admitted to.
3/13/2018 Failure to ensure that a nursing home area is free from accident hazards and provide adequate supervision to prevent accidents. The facility failed to safely transport a resident in a wheelchair when entering a doorway, resulting in the resident suffering a laceration that required emergency treatment with 12 staples. The resident is dependent on others for mobility and was being pushed in a wheelchair when the resident’s leg caught on a doorway and was cut. The cause was identified as an inexperienced CNA not transporting the resident in a safe manner by failing to ensure the resident’s extremities were contained.
How to Select a Safe Nursing Home
There is no way to completely prevent nursing home abuse; however, certain conditions and practices in nursing homes can increase the likelihood of abuse and neglect, so Levin & Perconti advises avoiding questionable facilities and seeking elder care from highly rated facilities instead. Facilities with proven quality care are more likely to employ enough trained staff and promote a compassionate, professional environment where residents truly receive the care they need.
To find this kind of nursing home for you or a loved one, you must perform your own vetting of the facilities available in your area. Start by asking for recommendations from friends, acquaintances, doctors, or social workers. You may also get suggestions from your local senior and community activity center or a government program that serves senior citizens. Even online reviews can help you identify promising nursing homes.
After compiling a list of recommended facilities, research and compare your findings for each one to pick out the top few that interest you most. Use the ratings and health inspection reports published by Medicare. You can also call your local long-term care ombudsman, state health department, or state licensing agency to ask if they have further details about conditions at prospective nursing homes.
Finally, you or a trusted family member should tour your top picks so you can assess the living conditions there yourselves. Pay attention to how clean and well maintained the facility is, the demeanor and friendliness of staff, and how you feel there. Ask probing questions about the ratio of staff to residents, staff qualifications, and the procedure for filing resident complaints or anything else you’re curious about. If more questions come to you later, be sure to call or visit again.
With this kind of due diligence, you should be able to make a final choice that you’re confident in. Your work is not done yet though. While picking a highly rated nursing home with all the proof of high standards drastically reduces the likelihood of abuse, it doesn’t erase the risk completely. New assisted living residents and their family members should still take measures to further protect themselves.
When you or a loved one moves into assisted living, make plans for how to stay in contact with friends and family, preferably with regular visits. It is common for residents who are isolated from loved ones to be targeted for abuse. Visitors can offer moral support and look for signs of abuse or help abuse victims file a complaint if needed. Both residents and loved ones should learn the common signs of abuse. Here are some to start with:
- Untreated severe bedsores
- Unexplained injuries like bruises, burns, or scars
- Evidence of poor circulation like sunken cheeks or eyes
- Weight loss or malnourishment not due directly to an illness
- Frequent trips to the emergency room or doctor
- Wrong type or the wrong amount of medication administered
- Poor hygiene or unwashed clothes or hair
- Instances of wandering or elopement
- Frequently misplaced or lost personal items
- A lack of basic necessities, including utilities, water, and food
- A dirty room or bathroom
- Frequent trouble sleeping
- Unusual violent or withdrawn behavior
- Sudden depression or confusion
- Signs of trauma like rocking back and forth
In the event that abuse occurs, act quickly. Follow the facility’s procedures for filing a complaint and reach out to a staff supervisor or the facility administrator. This person should know what action to take to promptly correct the situation and prevent further problems.
However, if facility management fail to take effective action or prevent further abuse or retaliation, you may need outside help. Contact a doctor, a state agency, or your local long-term care ombudsman as soon as possible for guidance. Additionally, if you or a loved one suffer injury or death in a nursing home, you may have a wrongful injury or death case that should be handled by legal experts.
Levin & Perconti Wants to Help
If you or a loved one have suffered abuse or neglect at Heritage Health Mount Zion or another Illinois nursing home, Levin & Perconti is here for you during this confusing time. Our experienced elder abuse attorneys have the knowledge and proven history of winning that you need on your side to get the verdict or settlement you deserve, and we will guide you every step of the way. If you are ready to get started, click or call Levin & Perconti at 888-424-5757 any time for a free consultation and more information.
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.