Rock River Gardens
If you have been abused or neglected at Rock River Gardens, read about your rights below, and then contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for a free case evaluation.
Who is Rock River Gardens?
Rock River Gardens, a 70-bed nursing home in Whiteside County, provides a continuum of care for its residents. Among these services are nursing assistance and psychiatric care. The facility is Medicaid supported. The center is located at 3601 Sixteenth Avenue, Sterling, IL and may be reached through telephone number 815-626-0233. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and Department of Public Health govern Rock River Gardens.
Rock River Gardens’ Address, Phone Number, and Contact Information
Rock River Gardens
3601 Sixteenth Avenue
Sterling, IL 61081
Rock River Gardens’ Overview
Rock River Gardens, a Medicaid certified facility in Illinois, runs under the management of Petersen Health Care. They have 70 licensed beds and provide the following daily living assistance, medication administration and monitoring, treatment coordination and planning, and behavior management administration. They also coordinate with outside healthcare professionals to provide podiatry, dental, dermatology, and internal medicine care. It runs under the management of Petersen Health Care and is a Medicaid and Medicare-approved facility. The center’s management also supports a resident council and has ensured a sprinkler-equipped facility. As of the last recorded inspections, the center has 8 health and 7 fire safety citations. They also have zero federal fine within the last three years. US News and World Report gave Rock Falls Rehabilitation & Health Care Center a four-star or better than average rating.
Rock River Gardens is not within a Continuing Care Retirement Community. A CCRC provides three levels of care: independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing. Typically, a CCRC offers the most service-intensive options for residents. At a CCRC, residents may freely move from one level of care to another.
The nursing facility is also not located within a hospital. Some residents may require more intensive care that can only be provided at a hospital. Because Rock River Gardens is not located at a hospital, residents cannot be easily and quickly transferred to an acute care setting, if necessary.
According to Medicare’s Nursing Home Care, Rock River Gardens has an overall rating of two stars which is below average. Altogether, Medicare gives Rock River Gardens the following star ratings. We all know the more starts, the better the service.
- Overall rating: two stars (below average). Medicare assigns the overall star rating based on a nursing home’s performance on three separate categories: health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. Each of these categories has its own star ratings, with more stars meaning better quality of care.
- Health inspections two stars (below average). Health care professionals conduct annual inspections for Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing facilities to identify any health and safety citations. The most recent health inspection for the facility was held last June 27, 2019. The more stars mean the fewer the health risks the facility poses.
- Staffing: two stars (below average). The rating is based on the number of professional nursing home staff hired including the average time said professionals spent caring for residents. The rating also takes into account the needs of the residents vis-à-vis staffing requirements. The more stars mean a better level of staffing per nursing home resident.
- Quality of resident care: four stars (above average). Once again, more stars are better. Nursing homes that are certified by Medicare and Medicaid frequently report clinical information about their residents to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS then assigns nursing homes a quality of resident care star rating based on their performance on 16 measures. Normally, the category measures the quality of care for short-term and long-term residents. These, and other measures, reflect how well nursing homes care for their residents.
Signs of Abuse and Neglect
If you notice that your loved one exhibits any of the following, you should act immediately:
- Broken bones,
- Head injuries,
- Medication overdose,
- Dehydration or malnutrition,
- Poor hygiene,
- Soiled bedding,
- Rapid weight loss,
- Sudden agitation or emotional withdrawal,
- Frequent crying, or
- Complaints of poor treatment.
Illinois Nursing Home Statistics
Nursing Home Profits Over Patients
Nursing Home Staffing Problems
Types of Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
Bed Rail Entrapment: Bed rails are commonly used to assist patients who may have limited mobility or a high risk of falling out of bed at night, and “bed rail entrapment” occurs when a patient becomes stuck between the mattress and bed rail, which can result in serious injury or even death. There are four main ways that bed rail entrapment occurs: in-between split bed rails; in-between a single bed rail’s bars; between the bed rail and mattress; and between the bed rail, mattress, headboard, or footboard. When bed rails are not properly implemented by the nursing home or particular employees, they may be legally liable if their negligence directly results in bed rail entrapment and injuries.
Bed Rail Injuries: Portable bed rails which are commonly used in medical facilities can be dangerous for elderly patients, and one study found over 150 fatalities involving these devices between 2003 and 2012; nearly 30% of these deaths occurred in nursing homes and similar facilities, and over 80% of victims were 60 years of age or older. The FDA identifies the main risks of bed rails as: suffocation or strangulation when the head or neck is entrapped; bruising, lacerations, or fractures in trapped limbs; severe agitation and/or confusion when entrapped in the bed rail; and death, in serious cases. When a nursing home resident suffers a bed rail injury, the nursing home, a particular staff member, the bed rail’s manufacturer, or a combination of these may be legally liable due to negligence.
Bedsores: Bedsores are often called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers. These sores originate at points of pressure. They develop inside-out, so that once the wound opens through the outer layer of skin, it is a full-blown ulcer and very susceptible to infection. These wounds range in severity from mild such as skin reddening to severe which are deep craters that go down through the muscle to the bone. Bedsores can develop quickly, and treatment is often difficult – especially among elderly patients. These ulcers tend to be very difficult to heal, requiring a continuous effort to relieve the pressure between the bone and the exterior of the body. Unfortunately, nursing home residents with limited mobility, who are confined to the bed or chair, are uniquely at risk for suffering these injuries.
Burns: While burn accidents in nursing homes are entirely preventable, nursing home patients are unfortunately at greater risk of injury when these accidents occur due to decreased mobility or diminished hearing or eyesight, which can potentially result in delayed reaction-times. Common causes of burn accidents include: smoking hazards, such as when a facility allows indoor smoking; unsupervised candles, which can increase the risk of a fire; flammable medical hazards related to electrical equipment, flammable gases, or pressurized oxygen; or even faulty or exposed electrical wiring in the facility itself. The nursing home and/or particular staff members should be held accountable when negligence directly results in a burn accident and injuries.
Choking: Choking accidents can occur with medications, especially larger pills, but occur primarily during meals when nursing home patients and/or their food intake are not properly supervised by professionals. Some patients require restricted diets due to difficulty swallowing, which can result from neurological damage or disorders, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other conditions, and are at greater risk of choking when eating unsupervised, while choking can also be a general risk for many elderly patients regardless of particular conditions. The nursing home may be considered negligent when lack of supervision or proper restriction of a patient’s diet directly results in a choking incident.
Clogged Breathing Tubes: Nursing home patients who need assistance with ventilation typically use an “endotracheal tube,” which is inserted through the nose or mouth and connects to a mechanical ventilator. Maintaining these tubes requires quality nursing care, and negligence can result in clogged breathing tubes, which can have serious and even fatal complications. These include clogging by secretions or mucus plugs, which can potentially result in respiratory distress, arrest, or complete or partial collapse of the lung; hypoxia, meaning a lack of oxygen from limited airflow; and sudden death. As such, these cases can be serious and result in medical malpractice or wrongful death claims to hold the nursing home and/or particular employees accountable for their negligence.
Dehydration and Malnutrition: Between 1999 and 2002 alone, over 10,000 nursing home patients lost their lives due to dehydration and/or malnutrition. Nursing homes must ensure that all residents have proper access to food and water, and negligence can occur when nursing homes have insufficient staffing to address each resident’s needs in a timely manner, while deliberate withholding of food and water from a resident is considered abuse and also grounds for a lawsuit. Elderly residents are especially prone to dehydration and malnutrition, which can result in serious health complications and even death, and nursing homes should be held accountable when their negligence results in starving or thirsty residents.
Dropped Patients: Some nursing home residents need assistance when standing or walking, and accidents and serious injuries can occur when staff members use bad judgment or do not follow the facility’s protocols. These drops can occur due to negligence when transferring a patient from a wheelchair to the shower, bath, or bed (or vice-versa) or from one chair to another, and resulting injuries may include fractured bones, traumatic brain injury (TBI), damage to internal organs, or even death. In addition to not following protocols, other risk factors for drops include poor training, understaffing, lack of equipment, or faulty equipment, and the most common root causes are the negligence of one or more particular employees and/or the facility’s failure to properly assess the patient’s needs.
Elopement: Wandering in a nursing home is a common risk for patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other psychological disorders, and “elopement” occurs when a wandering patient leaves the facility entirely. This can be very dangerous for patients who aren’t physically and/or psychologically fit to be by themselves, especially when unsupervised and out in public, and patients who have eloped due to a nursing home’s negligence have suffered serious injuries and even death. If a patient leaves his/her nursing home due to inadequate supervision, the nursing home and/or particular staff members may be legally responsible if an injury occurs.
Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse of nursing home patients can come in many forms, including insults, harassment, threats/intimidation, yelling/screaming, and other behaviors. While emotional abuse is often the fault of one or more particular employees rather than the nursing home itself, the facility may also be legally liable for this abuse if inadequate background screening resulted in the hiring of an abusive employee who shouldn’t have received the position. Unfortunately, patients who are more vulnerable and/or require more care than others may be at greater risk of emotional abuse, and in all cases nursing home employees should be held legally accountable for their negligence.
Falls: Falls in nursing homes result in more than 1,800 deaths and many more injuries per year - among elderly patients, an estimated 10 - 20% of falls result in serious injury. Although nursing homes generally have “fall prevention programs” in place to mitigate these accidents, the negligence of nursing home staff can increase these risks in many ways. Common examples include: physical hazards, such as wet floors, inadequate lighting or security, obstructed stairways or walkways, or defective equipment; improper prescription or dosage of sedatives, depressants, or similar medications which affect the central nervous system; improperly-fitted shoes or walking aids; inadequate supervision; and failure to provide necessary assistance.
Fractures: Elderly nursing home residents - especially those suffering from osteoporosis - are more prone to suffering broken bones or fractures in accidents, and residents aged 75 years and older are at the greatest risk of any age group. These injuries include spontaneous fractures, stress fractures, and traumatic fractures, and common causes include improperly moving or lifting a patient, inadequate supervision for patients in wheelchairs, inadequate training for handling a patient’s mobility requirements, and hazardous conditions within the facility which can result in slip-and-fall accidents. Fractures can require months of physical and psychological recovery, even when treated as soon as possible, and the nursing home may be legally liable when its negligence directly results in an accident and injury.
Infections: There is an unfortunate epidemic of infections acquired not outside of medical facilities, but within them, resulting in over 1.7 million cases per year for infections acquired within hospitals alone. Nursing homes are also vulnerable to these infections, which often come from blood transfusions, catheters, patient-rooms, surgical incisions or hardware, ventilators, and other medical equipment. Nursing homes must have comprehensive infection-control policies to protect everyone within the facility, including patients, staff, and visitors, and these policies cover hand-hygiene, personal protective equipment, quarantine protocols, environmental cleanliness, and other factors. The nursing home may be legally liable for an infection acquired within the facility due to negligence.
Inadequate Supervision: Inadequate supervision in nursing homes is often caused by understaffing and/or improper training of staff and can result in a wide range of problems for patients, from dehydration/malnutrition and bedsores to medication errors, mobility accidents, bed-related injuries, and even infections or medical complications. Nursing homes must always be properly staffed to address patients’ needs and respond to emergencies in a timely manner, and serious injuries and even death can result when patients aren’t properly supervised by staff members. If a patient suffers an injury or illness as a direct result of inadequate supervision, the nursing home may be legally liable.
Medication Errors: Preventable medication errors result in hundreds of thousands of adverse drug events (ADEs) per year, and in nursing homes, they can result in serious injuries/illnesses and even death. These errors include prescribing the wrong medications or dosages, mislabeling medications, failure to take a patient’s complete medical history, and failure to note patients’ reactions to particular medications. Adverse drug events cost our society an estimated 98,000 lives and $3.5 billion per year, and nursing home residents are especially prone to irreversible damage or death from medication errors: about 800,000 adverse drug events occur per year in long-term care facilities.
Overmedication: Overmedication refers to a medication error in which a nursing home patient is prescribed too much of a medication, either in quantity or dosage. Unintentional overmedication can occur due to understaffing or inexperienced improperly-trained staff, and intentional overmedication can occur when a facility wrongfully intends to sedate a patient for extended periods of time - also known as a “chemical restraint” - rather than address the root of the patient’s problem, which often results from a flawed caretaking philosophy which regularly resorts to overmedication. This practice can result in serious injury, illness, or death whether intentional or not and nursing homes should be held legally accountable for these errors.
Physical Abuse: Physical abuse in nursing homes involves violence or physical force and can come in many forms. Common signs of abuse of a patient include scratches, bites, bruises, burns, or even inappropriate restraints. Statistics show that citizens over 80 years of age are at the highest risk of physical abuse in nursing homes, and unfortunately much of this abuse goes unreported: only one out of every six patients who are physically abused report the incident afterward, according to some estimates, resulting in organizations such as the CDC and NCPEA labeling elder abuse an “invisible problem.” As such, it’s important to understand both the physical and behavioral signs that abuse may be taking place.
Physical Assault: Assault and battery is the most blatant form of physical abuse in nursing homes and is among the most egregious violations of patients’ rights. Physical assault may include punching, slapping, kicking, shaking, and other forms of force, and while most victims in nursing homes were assaulted by staff members, assault among residents of the facility can also occur due to the staff’s negligence, particularly inadequate supervision. There are many risk factors for physical assault in nursing homes: some facilities do not properly screen their employees and may hire individuals who are unstable or have violent tendencies; inadequate staffing can place great stress on employees who then act irrationally; and some residents’ physical or psychological limitations make them unfortunate targets for violence.
Physical or Chemical Restraints: Patients’ dignity and ability to move freely in nursing homes must be respected. Sometimes, nursing home employees may utilize physical or chemical restraints to handle an agitated individual, but this should only be a last-resort option that is absolutely necessary. Unnecessary or excessive use of restraints not only violates a patient’s rights, but can also result in injuries to the patient, ranging from head injuries to bone fractures and internal bleeding. Patients who have a history of falls, low cognitive performance, or are taking antipsychotic medications may be at greater risk of negligent use of restraints, and the employee and/or facility should be held accountable for the resulting physical and/or psychological pain and suffering.
Sepsis: Sepsis can occur when bacteria infect the bloodstream and often develops from bedsores and similar medical complications. Severe sepsis, also known as “septic shock,” can be fatal if not treated as soon as possible, so it’s important that these conditions are closely monitored, and the root causes are identified. A nursing home may be legally liable if negligence resulted in the condition which led to sepsis, such as bedsores, or if negligence directly resulted in sepsis or septic shock. If a patient passes away from septic shock resulting directly from negligence, the nursing home or employees may be liable in a wrongful death claim.
Sexual Assault: Sexual assault in nursing homes is a widespread and often-underreported problem. Common signs of sexual abuse of a patient include bleeding or bruising in the genital area; stained or ripped clothing, linens, or bed sheets; unusual fear or anxiety, especially in the presence of a particular staff member; and depression or changes in mood. While nursing homes and their employees are fully legally obligated to ensure that residents are safe, and their rights are protected, it’s important to maintain open communication with your loved one to determine as soon as possible if such horrendous abuse is taking place.
Wandering: Adequate staffing and supervision for patients is essential in nursing homes, and some patients suffering from psychological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, may be prone to wandering when left unsupervised. This can be dangerous, as unassisted patients may be at risk of falling, which can result in serious injury or even death. Other risk factors include unfamiliarity with a new environment, recent changes in medication, and unmet physical needs related to hunger or hygiene. If a patient wanders in a nursing home without proper supervision and suffers an injury, the facility and/or particular staff members may be legally responsible for the injury due to negligence.
Wheelchair Accidents: While almost all wheelchair accidents are entirely preventable, they typically occur when a patient is being transported from a wheelchair to a chair or bed (or vice-versa) and can result in serious injuries or even death. These accidents can occur when staff members are inexperienced, improperly trained, or in violation of the facility’s standard protocols for transporting patients, each of which may be considered negligence on behalf of the employee and/or nursing home itself. Other common causes include inadequate supervision, failure to apply brakes when the wheelchair is not in motion, or improper securement of the wheelchair in a vehicle.
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