A fire at the Meadowbrook Healthcare nursing home in DeKalb County, Georgia had tragic results as one resident died and two more were transported to a local hospital for burns and smoke inhalation.
There’s something uniquely terrifying about a fire, but for people familiar with the nursing home industry, a fire in a nursing home can be particularly devastating. Nursing homes often employ a skeleton crew during the typical 11PM to 7AM shift. Sometimes, a single staff member is responsible for dozens of nursing home residents, a clear violation of trust and evidence of nursing home neglect. A fire at the wrong time could easily kill dozens.
Two years ago, a fire in a nursing home in Sydney, Australia hospitalized over 100, killed 10, and put dozens more in intensive care with severe burns.
What most people with loved ones in nursing homes don’t know is that nursing homes need to undergo regular fire inspections. The inspection reports are available on the nursing home compare website for the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
To find your nursing home, enter the zip code and the name of the nursing home into the appropriate boxes on the homepage, then click the “Search Nursing Homes” button.
If you typed in the complete and accurate nursing home name (even a typo will throw you off) you’ll be taken directly to the nursing home’s profile page. The profile page will show the address, number of certified beds, and a general rating system of 1 to 5 stars based on the home’s Overall Rating, Health Inspection Rating, Staffing Rating, and Quality Measure Rating.
Above these ratings are tabs labeled General Information, Inspection Results, Staffing, Quality Measures, and Penalties.
Near the bottom of the page you can see the Fire Safety Deficiencies for the Heritage nursing home. According to the report, the nursing home does not have corridor and hallway doors capable of blocking smoke.
The nursing home also had no barriers or walls capable of resisting fire for an hour or more. There is also a lack of effective backup exit lighting, smoke detectors, and portable fire extinguishers.
Placing a loved one in a nursing home is never an easy decision. It’s a decision that families have to make when they are no longer capable of providing a safe environment at home. Nursing homes have an obligation to provide that safe environment.
If you have a loved one who has been injured in an Illinois nursing home, and you feel that nursing home neglect was to blame, contact our Chicago nursing home lawyers for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. At my law offices we never charge a fee unless we recover a judgement for you.