Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer Tara R. Devine Calls Attention to New Study Finding High Rate of Preventable Harm in Skilled Nursing Facilities

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Attorney with Illinois personal injury firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. says a recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study highlights the need for family members to watch out for and report nursing home abuse and neglect.

Attorney representing nursing home abuse and neglect victims in Illinois

Tara R. Devine

This study underscores the need for family members to be vigilant about the care and treatment their loved ones receive in nursing facilities.

Families with loved ones staying in nursing homes in Illinois should review a new study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Chicago personal injury lawyer Tara R. Devine said today.

The study, released in March 2014, found that an estimated 32,519 patients suffered harm (including 1,538 deaths) within skilled nursing facilities during a one-month period in 2011, with much of that harm attributable to poor care the patients received.

Devine, a partner with the personal injury law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., based in Chicago and Waukegan, represents nursing home abuse and neglect victims and their families.

“This study underscores the need for family members to be vigilant about the care and treatment their loved ones receive in nursing facilities,” Devine said. “Family members should pay close attention to any signs of nursing home abuse or neglect, report any suspected mistreatment and demand a full investigation if any harm is suffered.”

The HHS study examined the medical records of 653 Medicare patients who were admitted to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in August 2011 for stays of 35 days or less.

The study found that 22 percent of the patients suffered “adverse events,” meaning events that led to a prolonged stay in the SNF, transfer to a hospital, permanent harm, life-sustaining intervention or death. Another 11 percent of the patients suffered some form of “temporary” harm, the study found.

The study concluded that 59 percent of the adverse events and temporary harm were “clearly or likely preventable.”

The study pinned much of the preventable harm on “substandard treatment, inadequate resident monitoring, and failure or delay of necessary care.” The study identified patient harm due to medication errors, infections, falls and other events.

The researchers called on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to raise awareness of nursing home safety and for state agencies to review how they identify and reduce adverse events in nursing homes.

Families also play a key role, Devine said. She noted that her law firm’s website provides guidance on detecting signs of neglect in nursing homes. The site also features information on how to report suspected nursing home abuse in Illinois.

Concerned family members should consult with an attorney to learn more about the steps that can be taken to protect their loved ones, Devine said.

“Taking legal action can address the injuries suffered by a nursing home resident in a specific incident and, in many case, it can help to prevent future harm by forcing a facility to improve its practices,” Devine said.

About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is a leading Chicago personal injury firm with offices in Chicago (22 West Washington Street, Suite 1600, Chicago IL 60602) and Waukegan (218 North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Waukegan, IL 60085). In addition to representing clients in catastrophic personal injury, medical malpractice, aviation and product liability cases, the firm focuses on car and truck accidents, airplane and train accidents, construction injuries, birth injuries, brain injuries, unsafe properties and animal attacks. The firm has obtained more than $800 million on behalf of its clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including 198 multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements. For more information, call (312) 372-1227 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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Lindsey Cramer
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.
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