December 21, 2014

Inspections find peril in central Illinois nursing homes

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The knitting group at Clark-Lindsey Retirement Village, Urbana, on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014.

Darrell Hoemann/CU-CitizenAccess.org

The knitting group at Clark-Lindsey Retirement Village, Urbana, on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014.

After months of interviews and reviewing Medicare data, Illinois Department of Public Health reports, court records and other documents, CU-CitizenAccess.org found that central Illinois homes are still accumulating steep fines and leaving residents at risk for untreated injuries, infections and medication errors.

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  • Here are some of the key facts and findings:
    • In 16 Illinois counties, there are 81 nursing homes that accept government assistance under Medicare. More than 41 percent of those homes, a total of 34 facilities, are rated below what Medicare considers average.
    • Champaign County has seven nursing homes. Three of those homes are rated as one-star facilities on Medicare’s five-star rating scale.
    • Since the start of 2011, 51 nursing homes have been fined a total of about $632,000, according to Illinois Department of Public Health records.
    • In the seven Champaign County facilities, inspectors have responded to at least 114 complaints since 2011.
    • Typical violations documented in health department reports include: pressure sores, medication errors, urinary tract infections, improper use of restraints, failure to notify physicians when necessary and failure to adequately monitor a resident’s health.
    • In Champaign County alone, nursing homes have had at least nine lawsuits involving patient care filed against them since 2009. One recent lawsuit, filed against Heartland of Champaign this May, includes a wrongful death complaint.
    • Registered nurses working in Illinois long-term care facilities average spending about an hour with each resident a day. Registered nurses in the 81 central Illinois facilities CU-CitizenAccess.org looked at during this investigation average only 43 minutes.
    • In Champaign County, registered nurses spend an average of about 37 minutes a day tending to each resident. This figure excludes data from Clark-Lindsey Retirement Village, which is an above average outlier compared to state and national data.

    CU-CitizenAccess.org will continue to report on the condition of central Illinois nursing homes.