By Devin Rose
An Oak Park nursing home where an 80-year-old resident died Tuesday of head trauma has consistently received one-star ratings on a five-point scale from a federal agency which rates nursing facilities. Another resident of the facility is believed to be connected to the death of the 80-year-old.
A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday that her agency was last at Oak Park Healthcare, 625 N. Harlem Ave., in late November when it completed an investigation sparked by a citizen complaint. A response from the facility to the agency in that instance said weekly audits would be implemented to ensure the risk levels of certain patients were noted on their care plans.
IDPH representatives are currently at the facility and will likely be on site through this week, said Melaney Arnold, a spokesperson. She said it could take two weeks before they can release their findings to the public.
Complaints about Oak Park Healthcare to the department have been consistent since 2001. However, Meyer Magence, who is listed as the agent of Oak Park Healthcare Center, LLC, called incidents from the early 2000s "ancient history."
"Anything can happen at any time," he said. "No nursing home has 1-to-1 care."
Currently IDPH and Oak Park police are conducting separate investigations into the death of Anibal Calderon.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Calderon's death a homicide caused by cerebral cranial hemorrhaging due to blunt force trauma, according to a statement from Oak Park police. Calderon was a patient in the facility's Alzheimer/dementia ward, and a 66-year-old patient in the same ward is believed to have been involved in his death.
Calderon died at Rush Hospital in Chicago around 1 a.m. Tuesday. He was found unconscious with a head injury by a nurse at the facility, 625 N. Harlem Ave., and police were called at about 8:40 p.m. Sunday. Oak Park Police Commander LaDon Reynolds said the call came in as a battery, but could not give additional details Wednesday about the investigation.
IDPH spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said she did not know when IDPH officials last conducted a scheduled inspection of the facility, but department records show the last complaint investigation survey was completed Nov. 29.
It's unclear if other complaints from a survey completed earlier that month were addressed. Those included verbal mistreatment by an employee to a patient, failure to implement the facility's abuse policy during pre-employment screening and failure to supply phones to every resident, among others.
The facility's administrator, Helen Lacek, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
IDPH records from 2010 show the facility has 204 beds and 157 residents. The facility has been fined thousands of dollars at least a handful of times since 2001. In one incident, it took 75 minutes for a resident's seizures to be controlled by paramedics. In another, a resident allegedly sexually assaulted another resident.