Articles Posted in Selecting a home

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We frequently rail against forced arbitration clauses used in nursing home admission contracts which limit the rights of residents and their family to seek recourse following neglect and mistreatment. All Illinois families are urged to avoid these “agreements” at all costs.

But what is truly unfair about arbitration agreements? It is helpful to run down a list of a few of the aspects to the process that slant against the consumer.

Juries & Evidence

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If you or a loved one have a medical conditions that necessitate long-term care and would prefer to live in a setting that closely resembles a real home, you might consider the Green House Project. The Green House Project operates a number of homes in many states that are alternatives to living in a nursing home. The Green House Project was developed by Dr. William H. Thomas in 2003 to personalize elder care by redesigning the nursing home model to give residents more privacy and control over their lives. The project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and by 2011 had created 99 Green House Project homes in 27 states.

If you choose a Green House project home, you will have your own private room and bathroom. You will also have access to a living room, a kitchen, and an open dining area. Green House Project homes are different from nursing homes in that they do not have strict schedules and you will be encouraged to interact openly with staff and other residents. If you choose a home in a Green House Project, you will live in a small community atmosphere with approximately 10-12 other residents. The Green House Project is unique because it can offer you autonomy and purposeful living. In addition, Green House Project homes are widely recognized as offering senior citizens a living arrangement where they have very high levels of direct care and a great deal of staff involvement.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

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There is such variety in the quality of nursing homes that it is absolutely essential to take care when making a selection for a loved one. Weighing the facility’s track record, location to family members, available amenities, perspective of current residents, and other factors is critical. It is not a stretch to say that the life of your relative is on the line, and it is well worth it to take all the available time to make the appropriate choice.

But as far too many Illinois families know, there often is not much available time. Many seniors suffer a fall, stroke, heart attack, or other accident that forces them to move into a facility where they can receive around the clock assistance right away. Adult children, other relatives, and friends often have to help make a nursing home decision almost immediately.

Prepare Ahead of Time

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Managing the financial details of entering and staying in a nursing home can be complicated and confusing for many potential residents. The consideration of whether Medicare will cover a nursing home stay depends on the official status that a patient receives at a hospital before being moved to the nursing facility, according to the Washington Post.

Specifically, Medicare will typically only cover a follow-up stay at a nursing home if an individual has three consecutive days of hospitalization as an inpatient. It will then pay for up to 100 days of rehabilitation or skilled nursing care. An inpatient is distinct from being labeled as an observation patient-where doctors are simply providing watch over a patient to ensure no complications or problems develop. When considering post-hospital care options, it is important to know that official label. A single patient can be switched from inpatient to observation patient, but the doctor is required to notify you if that change occurs.

It is not possible to appeal the official hospital determination of your status, regardless of whether or not you feel that you will need nursing home care following the hospitalization. Some suggest calling your personal physicians and asking him or her to talk to the hospital on your behalf regarding your patient label if you strongly believe that you should be considered an inpatient instead of at the hospital for observation only.

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A New York Times article has laid out many times for helping those dealing with the stressful task of choosing a nursing home. Chief executive of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging states that you can find a nursing home with a safe, engaging and pleasant environment if you “know what to look for and how to search.” The first step is to start with the data by looking at a nursing home’s health inspection data, staffing and quality measures. You may obtain this information by going to the Medicare website and using the “nursing home compare” tool. The next helpful step is to visit the nursing home numerous times. Ask to speak with the executive director, lead physician and head nurse. Take notice as to whether staff members are being friendly with the patients. When speaking with nursing home representatives make sure to ask the nursing homes if they engage in “person-centered care” as well as “consistent assignment” These homes will allow patients to generally manage their own schedules and choose when they wake up. Finally, make sure to inquire about the staff turnover. Countless studies have found that nursing home staffs with high turnover rates are more likely to commit nursing home negligence.

There are many helpful sources for choosing a nursing home in Illinois. The Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti recommend visiting the Illinois Department of Health’s Website to examine information on each nursing home in Illinois. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at the Illinois Department of Aging is another helpful resource for families choosing a nursing home for a loved one. They run a Senior Helpline that you may access by calling 1-800-252-8966.

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Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys Steven Levin and Margaret Battersby of Levin & Perconti filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the Renaissance at 87th nursing home in Chicago. The nursing home lawsuit alleges that the 92-year-old African-American woman died because the nursing home failed to properly care for her gastric tube. In December 2007, the woman received a gastric tube to receive food and medications and it malfunctioned. In May 2009, the resident’s g-tube fell out and the nursing home staff had to insert a Foley catheter to replace the tube.

The resident’s daughter then noticed changes in her mother’s condition and behavior. When the daughter brought this to the nursing home staff’s attention they ignored her complaint. On June 1, the Director of Nursing immediately recognized her urgent medical care. She was transferred to the hospital and died on June 2. The Illinois Department of Public Health launched an investigation and cited the Renaissance at 87th. Nursing home neglect lawyer Steven Levin stated that The Renaissance at 87th violated the Nursing Home Care Act by failing to provide the proper care to prevent the g-tube from malfunctioning. He added that as a nursing home lawyer, he oftentimes sees nursing home owners put profits before their resident’s needs. The resident’s daughter visited her mother daily and found that the staff had not bathed her or changed her undergarments. Many family members could not communicate their disapproval for the nursing care and had no advocates to speak on behalf of them. The Renaissance at 87th is among the many homes in Illinois that have a one star rating, the lowest possible, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare Website.

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The holiday season is a time for giving, and, Gunther’s Grades would like to offer three months of free membership to all new members during the month of December. For information on how to take advantage of this holiday special, go to www.gunthersgrades.com.

Gunther’s Grades is a web meeting place where caregivers, families and friends can access, rate and share information regarding long-term care and facilities in Illinois.

Visit Gunther’s Grades to view ratings of Illinois nursing homes submitted by other families and caregivers.

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Social workers, residents and advocates filled a hearing room to demand that Illinois stop using nursing homes to house younger adults with mental illness, including felons who police say assaulted, raped and even killed elderly and disabled housemates. The panel members heard a cascade of criticism and questions about the state’s decades-long pattern of channeling younger, mentally ill felons into facilitates that house geriatric and disabled residents. Illinois needs to stop institutionalizing people in nursing homes who are only there because of a mental illness. Currently Illinois houses about 15,000 people whose primary diagnosis is a mental illness. It is estimated that roughly 10,000 mentally ill residents could be moved into less institutional settings within five years if the state moved numbers around in the budget. Under Illinois law, all incoming nursing home residents are given a criminal background check and assessed for the risk they pose to other residents if felonies are discovered. However, these screenings can take too long and residents are at risk for nursing home abuse in the meantime. To read more about the nursing home hearing, please click the link.

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According to the Government Accountability Office almost 4 percent of the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes could be considered “the most poorly performing” of standards of nursing homes. The most poorly performing home’s tended to be chain-affiliated, for-profit and have more beds and residents. To identify the worst homes in the nation, GAO applied CMS’s Special Focus Facilities methodology on a nationwide basis and made refinements to the methodology that “strengthened” GAO’s estimate. The most poorly performing nursing homes had notably more deficiencies. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has identified that four Illinois nursing homes are Special Focus Facilities that include:

Pekin Manor in Pekin, Illinois Shawnee Rose Care Center in Harrisburg, Illinois Embassy Health Care Centre in Wilmington, Illinois International Village in Chicago, Illinois
To read more about the nursing home study, please visit the NCCNHR’s website.

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In April of 2009, Levin & Perconti discussed the death of a nursing home resident in the village of Burnham, located in the southern suburb of Chicago. This death may have been the resident of nursing home abuse. The victim died on April 1 from injuries he sustained during an altercation, which may have been at the home. A further autopsy revealed that the man died from multiple person injuries he sustained during the attack. To read about this nursing home abuse, please click the link.

The Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers at Levin & Perconti have represented victims of poor care at Burnham Terrace in the past. If you believe a loved one has suffered injury or death as a result of nursing home negligence at Burnham Terrance, contact our offices at 312-332-2872 for a free consultation with an experienced Chicago nursing home lawyer.