Nursing Home Violated Nursing Home Care Act by Negligent Transportation of Developmentally Disabled Resident (Ill. App.)

The Illinois Department of Public Health conducted an investigation concerning an automobile accident involving a 79-year-old female resident who was under the care Community Living Options, Inc., an intermediate-care facility for the developmentally disabled. The resident was diagnosed with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, speech and hearing impairment, and dementia.  Defendant's employee was driving a facility van with the subject resident and two other residents.  A truck braked in front of the van and the employee braked to avoid the truck. The resident came forward and hit the dash with her head. She was transported to a hospital and died the next day from the blunt trauma she sustained from the accident. Testimony revealed that the defendant did not have a specific policy providing for employees to secure residents for transport. The Department sent Defendant a notice of violations pursuant to the Nursing Home Care Act (Act) (210 Ill. Consol. Stat. §§ 45/1–101 to 3A–101) for neglect of its resident. It issued a conditional license and assessed a $20,000 fine.  


The court affirmed. Defendant had an unwritten practice of seat-belting residents in the van. That practice consisted of developmentally disabled residents putting on their own seatbelts or, if unable, having developmentally disabled residents assisted each other with their seatbelts or sometimes with the assist of staff. Defendant failed to provide adequate oversight and supervision over the residents it transported as defined by the Code when it allowed its employee driver to simply listen for seatbelt “clicks,” ask developmentally disabled individuals if they were securely belted in, and look backwards to see if the belts were across their laps but not check to make sure they were in fact, latched.

Community Living Options, Inc. v. Department of Public Health, 2013 Ill. App. (4th) 121056-U (October 24, 2013) (unpublished)

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