Facility fined, employee fired after misread advance directive leads to resident's death

An Illinois nursing home has been cited and fined $25,000 after nursing staff failed to follow an advance directive regarding cardiopulmonary resuscitation, resulting in the death of a resident.

The incident occurred in March when an unnamed female resident at Belleville, IL-based Willowcreek Rehab & Nursing was found unresponsive. The facility's staff attempted to revive her, until they were stopped by another staff member who said the resident's medical records included a “do not resuscitate” order. Efforts to save the patient were ceased, and she died.

After an investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health, officials reported the staffer had misread the resident's chart. With “full code” listed under the woman's DNR preferences, she should have been resuscitated.

In addition to medical charts, the 122-bed skilled care facility posts different colored dots outside the door of each room in the facility to inform staff members of each resident's resuscitation wishes. Green dots are hung to indicate CPR can be used, while red dots signify a DNR order. The staffer, who has been fired from the facility, told the IDPH she was unaware the system was in place.

Interviews with additional members of the staff revealed that several others had not been given any formal training on the facility's dot system. Since the incident, all current staff members have received training regarding code status policy and advance directives, according to the IDPH.