Uncovering the Truth: Chicago’s Worst Nursing Home

senior in nursing home
Closeup of a senior sitting in a wheel chair

Wentworth Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Chicago rates among the city’s worst for providing quality patient care. When people make the difficult decision to move their elderly family members or loved ones with disabilities into skilled nursing facilities, they do so with the expectation that they will receive the highest quality of care. Unfortunately, however, nursing home residents often fall victim to abuse and neglect at the hands of those charged with their care.

A History of Neglect and Poor Conditions

Inspection reports and ratings from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show a pattern of abuse, neglect and substandard living conditions for patients at the Wentworth facility. In recent years, inspectors from CMS cited the facility for staff members ignoring the basic safety and health standards for residents. Other citations include warnings for untreated bedsores, providing residents with poor quality food, and chronic insect and rodent problems. A Chicago Tribune investigative report highlights several such incidents, which resulted in residents suffering serious injuries and death.

The facility’s website boasts receiving a five-star quality measures rating from CMS. However, quality measure ratings are based largely on data reported from the nursing facilities themselves, which may affect their accurate representation of the conditions at the home. Overall, CMS assigns Wentworth a one-star rating, indicating the facility is well below the average for the quality of care it provides.

Federal Safety Measures Fall Short of Protecting Nursing Facility Residents

Federally implemented programs and measures aimed at improving the care in the nation’s nursing homes and ensuring resident safety largely fall short. The Special Facility Focus program allows CMS to target facilities that have significant failures in meeting the required care standards and resident protections. However, many facilities that qualify for the program do not get selected for participation or have substantial wait times due to the CMS’s limited resources.   

Congress also directed the creation of the Nursing Home Compare online reference tool to help ensure elderly adults, those with disabilities, and their families have access to information on nursing home quality when choosing a facility. While the tool does have an icon to designate facilities that participate in the SFF program, it does not provide information on the program. Further, the star ratings for those facilities are removed from the facility profiles, but no reasoning for their removal is provided on the website.