The state has not received a complaint about the death of a Fairview Heights woman who had apparent signs of neglect, and it’s unknown whether local agencies that provided home health care to the woman are under investigation.
Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the state agency has not received a complaint about the death in February of 72-year-old Carol Pulley, of Fairview Heights, who had apparent signs of neglect.
Arnold said investigations of an agency are not made public.
Pulley died shortly after she asked a home care nurse not to report the neglect, according to police reports.
Earlier this month, Pulley’s daughter, Elaine Morris, was charged with neglect. Police said Morris left her mother in a severe medical condition, dehydrated, with a sepsis infection, bed sores and cigarette burns on her skin.
According to a police report, an employee from the Southwestern Illinois Visiting Nurse Assocition initially reported Pulley’s alleged neglect to police two days after the woman was admitted to Memorial Hospital in Belleville, where she died.
Lori Webb, the executive director, said she is not permitted to share information regarding the issue, but said Pulley was not one its patients.
A Community Care Systems employee also said Pulley was not a patient of the agency. However, both agencies were mentioned in a police report on the case.
Pulley also received care from Mederi Health, according to the police report. A spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Arnold said in an email to the BND, agency employees and volunteers are required to report abuse or neglect of a client to agency management and to an elder abuse provider agency or the Department on Aging.
“We have not received a complaint about the situation,” Arnold said.
She said if an investigation does take place it could take anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks. A report would be generated if there was a complaint made and a problem found, Arnold said.
During interviews with law enforcement, one of the home health care nurses told police that Pulley was dehydrated and had feces all over her legs, on one occasion. The nurse also said Morris “often wanted little to do with Pulley’s health care and taking care of her,” and Morris refused to take part in learning how to help with the woman’s physical therapy exercises, according to the police report.
A nurse with Mederi Health, in Fairview Heights, said she was unable to make contact with anyone at Pulley’s residence Feb. 7, after having found a cigarette burn on the elderly woman’s shoulder four days prior, which was the last time she saw Pulley before she was admitted to a hospital, according to the police report.
During that last visit, the nurse told Pulley to keep the burn clean and to not smoke in her bed, according to the police report.
A representative for Almost Family, the parent company of Mederi, did not comment for this story.
In 2014, the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services found Mederi Health was in compliance during its recertification survey.
A 2017 recertification survey found the agency had not visited a patient as frequently as it was supposed to. Mederi’s correction plan included providing education to its employees about the state regulation, and required visits be documented by clinicians and clinical managers, according to the recertification survey.
In 2014, the Visiting Nurse Association had not properly coordinated its patient services with a physician, when the physicians were not notified of missed visits, according to its recertification survey. It also was cited for having a physician sign off on a patient’s care plan more than 30 days after a start of care date. A physician is supposed to sign off on a patient’s within 30 days.
An employee for SIVNA acknowledge both mistakes, according to the report obtained through the state Department of Public Health.
Arnold said these were standard level deficiencies, which are less severe, and the state report lists no corrective action. She added there were not complaint surveys of SIVNA.
In 2017, SIVNA was cited for not ensuring properly following the standards of practice for changing gloves while removing and applying a new wound dressing.
An occupational therapist also did not perform an initial evaluation within a proper time frame. It also had not performed an annual review of three of its employees. It did not have make required visits on a timely basis for two of its patients.
SIVNA did provide correction plans, which included staff education days.
SIVNA was cited for not properly reviewing policies with a group of professionals on an annual basis. A meeting to review updated policies was moved up.
According to a 2016 recertification report for Community Care Systems, Inc., the agency was cited for not having proper documentation on services perfomed by its employees. Specifically an employee’s task sheet did not include a space to indicate whether housekeeping was carried out. The correction plan was to revise their forms to include a line for housekeeping, according to the document obtained through the Department of Public Health.
Community Care’s 2012 recertification report said the company was in compliance.