2 more deaths at county nursing home under investigation

2 more deaths at county nursing home under investigation

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URBANA — Two other deaths at the Champaign County Nursing Home this year are under investigation, Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Monday.

On Saturday, The News-Gazette reported that state public health officials had investigated a Feb. 16 suicide at the facility, while the coroner and Illinois State Police are looking into the June 10 death of a memory care patient at the nursing home.

Northrup said Monday two other deaths also are being investigated by his office.

"We have four cases right now that we're looking into at the Champaign County Nursing Home," he said. "We have cases as well at other nursing homes. I don't want to give the impression this is only going on at Champaign County. We have deaths we're looking into at other facilities as well."

Asked if it was unusual to have four deaths at one facility under investigation at the same time, he said, "Not necessarily. They're not all falls, either. One of these cases is a suicide. That's more rare. They do happen, but we don't have a lot of suicides in nursing homes. Most of them are falls."

At least one of the four deaths under investigation is from a fall. Another is a 78-year-old nursing home resident who was found dead June 10 in an outdoor courtyard at the facility. Her death and that of a fourth resident are considered undetermined, Northrup said.

He declined to release any other details about the death investigations.

"It could still be due to natural causes. We just have to wait for our results to come back," he said.

"Two of (the four) may come back to be natural causes. I had to investigate them anyway because of the reported circumstances with what happened and how they were found. The result might be that they were natural causes, and then we'll have only two cases. And it's not uncommon for us to be looking into multiple cases at the same time.

"Unfortunately, because of the other public things that are going on at the Champaign County Nursing Home, these cases have more interest publicly than they normally would."

Those other nursing home issues include financial problems, a plunging average daily census and poor quality scores, particularly regarding food service.

The Champaign County Board is to consider Thursday night hiring a new management company for the home to begin July 1, plus securing another company to market the facility for its possible sale.