IDPH has cited and fined Winning Wheels nursing home in Prophetstown after multiple residents were victims of physical and sexual assaults by a fellow resident.
The word “home” in the term “nursing home” is there for a reason – it is the home of each of the residents there, and each and every nursing home resident deserves to feel safe in their home. That is part of the reason that assaults on nursing home residents by staff members are addressed so aggressively – usually with the swift discharge of the offender, followed by criminal charges.
However, the staff is not the only source of risk to nursing home residents. At times, fellow nursing home residents are the perpetrators of assaults upon their fellow residents, and that is clearly the case in this situation.
The resident at issue in this situation suffered a brain injury as a result of an assault in 2017 and was admitted to the nursing home on October 11, 2018. As we will see, the brain injury obviously affects his ability to control his behavior, but it is still the obligation of the nursing staff to provide supervision necessary to keep other residents safe.
The citation reflects that this resident is wheelchair-bound, but is able to get around the facility independently in his wheelchair. In doing so, he has terrorized a number of staff members and fellow residents. The citation itself is worth review, but these are some of the incidents described in the citation, some of which were noted in the resident chart (keeping in mind that there may very well be several other incidents involving other residents or staff members which were either not charted or otherwise unknown to staff):
- He grabbed the breasts of multiple residents and staff members;
- He repeatedly exposed his penis to staff members and fellow residents;
- He punched multiple staff members and fellow residents;
- He punched and grabbed another male residents by the genitals. This resident’s father reported to the surveyor that his son then tried to choke himself with an eye toward committing suicide. This resident is in a nursing home due to a brain injury from a failed suicide attempt;
- He would masturbate in front of staff.
To say the least, other residents are aware of this resident and are terrified of him. One resident reported to the surveyor that she did not want him to know where her room was; another reported getting a door stop so that he could not get into her room.
These behaviors are well-known to the staff and have been since he was admitted, as his initial care plan included care planning for sexually inappropriate behaviors. Part of that care plan included 1:1 supervision which was not done because the staffing is not available. Failing to follow a care plan may serve as basis for a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit. Unfortunately for the nursing home, this does not relieve the facility of the burden of meeting the federal regulations which require the nursing home to have staff on hand to meet the care needs of the residents on a 24/7 basis. If 1:1 supervision is required to keep other residents safe from a fellow resident, then that is what must be done.
Past that, there needs to be serious consideration of whether the nursing home acted appropriately in accepting this resident into the facility. Nursing homes should only accept residents into the facility when they can meet the care needs of the resident. These behaviors are likely not new and were likely known to the nursing home when he was being considered for admission, seeing as he was care planned for sexually inappropriate behavior as part of his baseline care plan which is done immediately after admission.
Nursing home residents who are the victims of assaults (physical or sexual) have the right to pursue a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit for the failure to keep them safe in their home. At times, the surest way to grab the attention of a nursing home operator and to effect change at a facility is to file a lawsuit. This is one of those times that cries out for it.
There should also be some consideration as to whether the nursing home is acting properly in continuing to keep him as a resident. As resident can be involuntarily discharged from a nursing home when they endanger the safety of others in the nursing home. Another option would be to have him transferred to a psychiatric facility which is better equipped to deal with his behaviors. Allowing staff and residents to continue to be vicitmized by this resident has gone on far too long.
One of our core beliefs is that nursing homes are built to fail due to the business model they follow and that unnecessary accidental injuries and wrongful deaths of nursing home residents are the inevitable result. Order our FREE report, Built to Fail, to learn more about why. Our experienced Chicago nursing home lawyers are ready to help you understand what happened, why, and what your rights are. Contact us to get the help you need.
Other blog posts of interest: