December 22, 1999
TWO SPRINGFIELD NURSING HOMES FINED
SPRINGFIELD, IL The Illinois Department of Public Health has fined two Springfield nursing homes for failure to ensure the safety of residents:
Springfield Healthcare Center was fined $5,000 for not properly supervising a resident who left the facility's property in the afternoon and was found more than a mile away after crossing Veterans Parkway, a four-lane highway with a 55-mile-per-hour speed limit. The 76-year-old resident, who had a history of wandering, was allowed to exit the facility without any supervision. It was not known exactly how long the man had been gone but, once discovered missing, a staff search located him walking with his walker along Washington Street about 1½ miles from the facility. He was not injured.
The resident was outfitted with an alarm bracelet that sounds when he leaves the facility, but a receptionist had turned it off to allow him to go outside to a porch. She did not inform the nursing staff.
Westabbe Healthcare Center was fined $10,000 (Statement of Violation) because a 78-year-old resident left the facility around 2 a.m. and was not found until more than three hours later on the back porch of a Springfield residence. The man, who was taken to a local hospital emergency department where he was treated for cuts, abrasions and an elbow injury, was a known risk for elopement and had set off a door alarm less than an hour before he was found missing.
A Department investigation learned only one nurse was assigned to the building and was responsible for 50 residents, including six at risk of wandering. She told Department surveyors the man was eating a snack near the nurses station when there was a call light for assistance from another resident. He followed her to that room, but by the time she finished assisting the resident, the man had disappeared. A search of the facility was unsuccessful and police were called two hours after the resident was discovered missing. Police were notified by a 911 caller at 5:15 a.m. that the man was sitting on the person's back porch.
Westabbe Healthcare Center has requested a hearing on the Department's actions. A hearing date has not been scheduled. Springfield Healthcare Center did not seek a hearing.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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