Heritage Health Springfield
When you entrust the care of an elderly family member to a nursing home, you expect that they will receive all the care they need on a consistent basis. However, there is always the fear that some important task or personal need will fall through the cracks and leave your loved one in discomfort at best, or in danger at worst. While proven neglect in nursing homes is relatively rare, it certainly does happen— and probably more frequently than is reported. Your concerns, therefore, are completely valid.
Neglect comes in many forms, all of which are easy to miss when an elderly resident is already frail enough to require the skilled nursing provided in assisted living. It is difficult to tell the difference between the consequences of neglect and those of old age. Categorizing neglect may help, however.
Hygienic neglect is when caregivers fail to properly bathe or groom a resident. The resident may therefore smell unpleasant, have dirty skin or orifices, have unkempt hair or nails, or wear dirty or damaged clothes.
Medical neglect is the failure to properly prevent or treat medical conditions and injury. A neglected resident may suffer untreated medical or dental issues, not receive proper medication, suffer recurring illness or injuries, exhibit weight loss or other signs of malnutrition, or struggle with unusual fatigue.
Finally, neglect can be social and emotional. A resident may suffer the embarrassment and indignities of unpaid bills and debts, have expressed needs ignored or not taken seriously, or not have needs communicated to family members. This can result in the resident suffering depression, anxiety, loneliness, insomnia, and personality changes.
Knowing the consequences of neglect, however, is not enough. It is always better to prevent neglect in the first place. So how can you keep this from happening to elderly family members in assisted living?
At Levin & Perconti, we have the answer. In our experience working with victims of nursing home neglect, we’ve observed that nursing homes with the highest Medicare ratings and cleanest health inspection records tend to have lower reports of abuse and neglect compared to other facilities with low ratings and multiple health inspection infractions.
Levin & Perconti wants to help families and individuals find the bestassisted living facilities available for your loved ones. To do so, we share these ratings and health inspection reports as found on medicare.org for Illinois facilities as well as tips for protecting family members living in assisted living. With this information, you should be able to sort the good facilities from the bad and reduce the risk of a relative being neglected in nursing home care.
About Heritage Health Springfield
900 North Rutledge
Springfield, IL 62702
Heritage Health Springfield is a large facility with 178 beds and offers long- and short-term skilled nursing, hospice care, respite care, and a variety of therapies including respiratory, occupational, physical, speech, and restore-to-home.
Medicare gives Heritage Health Springfield an overall rating of merely Average, due to its Average health inspection and staffing ratings. The facility did receive an Above Average quality measures rating.
In addition to comparing ratings, you should also consider recent health inspection reports published by Medicare for each nursing home. These can reveal particular weaknesses in the care provided by a facility and give you more information to weigh. Here is a sample of deficiencies found at Heritage Health Springfield most recently:
6/21/2018 Failure to honor the resident’s right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal and the facility must establish a grievance policy and make prompt efforts to resolve grievances. The facility failed to develop and implement written procedures for reporting grievances and to inform residents of the grievance policy. It was found that the facility did not have its grievance policy or procedures posted anywhere visible for residents to read, nor was there a place to submit anonymous complaint forms. A number of residents said they did not know who to bring grievances to.
6/21/2018 Failure to ensure that feeding tubes are not used unless there is a medical reason and the resident agrees; and provide appropriate care for a resident with a feeding tube. The facility failed to label a resident’s enteral feeding bottle with the date it was opened and left a feeding tube cap open overnight.
6/21/2018 Failure to provide and implement an infection prevention and control program. Staff failed to perform proper hand hygiene to prevent the spread of infection while caring for three residents. A CNA failed to remove soiled gloves while moving a resident and touching the resident’s bed after catheter and perineal care. Another CNA moved a mechanical lift and toilet chair before removing soiled gloves while helping a second resident in the bathroom. A third CNA assisted a resident with toileting, closed a shared door, and then completed perineal care for the resident with the same gloves on.
Protecting your loved one from nursing home neglect and abuse
Nursing home abuse and neglect does not happen frequently, but it does affect thousands of assisted living residents every year.
While we do all we can to seek justice for our clients, it is always preferable that this abuse not happen at all. That is why Levin & Perconti encourages you to learn how to reduce the chance of nursing home abuse by picking a safe facility and remaining vigilant during your relative’s residency.
You should gather as much information as possible before settling on a nursing home so you can make the best choice possible. In addition to medicare.org, you can also seek information about local nursing homes from your relative’s doctor or social worker, and your local long-term care ombudsman, state health department, or state licensing agency. In your research, look for facilities with the best ratings and fewest infractions to find the best ones.
When you’ve identified some promising nursing homes, schedule tours with your top picks to see for yourself what kind of environment each facility has and to look for anything that doesn’t seem quite right. Pay attention to the facility’s cleanliness, staffs’ friendliness, and the general feeling there. This is also your chance to ask questions about safety concerns such as staff to resident ratios, staff qualifications, and procedures for filing complaints.
After picking the best nursing home possible and moving your relative in, you need to visit them regularly so you canensure they receive the care they need. Nursing home residents who are isolated from family and friends are more likely to be victimized, and many elderly abuse victims struggle to recognize or report abuse themselves.Your relative will rely on your help if they are being neglected. Do your best to learn the signs of abuse so you know what to look for on your visits. Some of those signs are
- 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
Taking action against abuse
If you ever suspect or learn of abuse of a loved one in a nursing home, take immediate action to report it to the right authorities. Follow the facility’s procedure for filing a grievance and speak with a staff supervisor or facility administrator for guidance. They should know what steps to take next as well as have the authority to fix the situation to prevent additional harm.
Be aware, however, that poor management is often at the root of nursing home abuse and reporting to facility authorities may make little difference.If this is your experience and a nursing home fails to correct an abusive situation or prevent further abuse,you should seek outside help from a doctor, long-term care ombudsman, or state licensing agency.
If your relative has suffered personal injury or death, you may also have the option to take legal action. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to seek legal aid from attorneys with nursing home abuse expertise, such as Levin & Perconti.
Levin & Perconti are on your side
If you are unsure if you have a wrongful death or injury case against an Illinois nursing home, Levin & Perconti will work with you from start to finish to review your rights and seek the outcome you deserve. Our nursing home abuse attorneys have all the knowledge and experience you need on your side at this time. To get started on your case, click or call Levin & Perconti at 888-424-5757 today. We take calls at all hours of the day or night.
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.