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October 14-20 is International Infection Prevention Week, a week in which government and health-focused organizations push to educate both the public and professionals on infection prevention and risk factors, as well as identifying symptoms and treatment options.

The elderly are already vulnerable to infections due to weakened immune systems, but those residing in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are even more so. Sharing close quarters makes the transmission of infections easier, compounded by the fact that elderly nursing home residents often have open wounds that serve as prime routes of entry for infections.

The CDC shares these facts about infections in long term care facilities:

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A joint study by researchers from The University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, John H. Stroger Hospital, The Social Policy Research Institute and Illinois Citizens for Better Care has found that the type of facility matters when it comes to the quality of care your elderly loved one is receiving.

Chicago Hospital Records Show Elder Neglect Happening in Nursing Homes

The study ‘Association between Type of Residence and Clinical Signs of Neglect in Older Adults,’ examined 5 metropolitan Chicago-area hospital records of 1,149 elderly patients admitted from long term care settings (nursing homes) and community settings (home, assisted living, or senior living facilities). The data revealed that for-profit nursing homes had more instances of clinical neglect than any other setting. The facilities responsible for the transfer of these residents to nursing homes were all metropolitan Chicago nursing homes.

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residents' rights month

Part 2: Residents’ Rights Month

October is Residents’ Rights Month, an annual event created by advocates to honor residents living in all long-term care facilities. This is an important time for family members and residents to be reminded of the rights anyone living in a nursing home has, protected by the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law. In a previous blog post, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti reviewed the first half of these rights to ensure readers understand residents must be treated with the same rights as those individuals residing in the larger community. Those rights found in a blog post titled Part 1: Residents’ Rights Month, include the 1) right to be fully informed, 2) right to complain, 3) right to participate in one’s own care, and 4) right to privacy and confidentiality. The remaining four residents’ rights outlined in the reform law include:

  1. Rights During Transfers and Discharges
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nursing home rights
Part 1: Residents’ Rights Month

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law is a federal law requiring nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident” in support of individual dignity and self-determination. Unfortunately, the law is often violated without repercussion because most seniors (and their family members) are not aware of the legal protections that support an individuals’ rights when residing in a nursing home facility. The month of October has been recognized as a time to address these needs and protections. To show support, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti would like to review the first four residents’ legal rights outlined within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law in Part 1 of this Residents’ Rights Month blog series.

Four Nursing Home Rights You Need to Know

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In just one week, Levin & Perconti filed two separate lawsuits in Cook County Circuit Court against facilities on behalf of clients who allege each facility is responsible for failing to prevent and properly treat pressure sores. Pressure sores, also known as bed sores or decubitus ulcers, are wounds that develop on the skin and the underlying tissue from spending long periods of time bearing weight on the skin. Bony parts of the body are more likely to be affected because the skin and tissue in these areas is less dense.  Constantly sitting or lying down in the same position puts patients at risk for developing a pressure sore, a risk factor that requires vigilant medical staff who follow preventative measures that include frequent position changes of patients, as well as good nutrition and good hygiene. Pressure sores can quickly become serious as the infection spreads to the underlying tissue, muscle and bone.

According to Mayoclinic.org, risk factors for pressure sores include:

  • Inability to move independently
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You know them as the organization that ranks colleges and hospitals, but did you also know that U.S. News & World Report maintains their own ratings for nursing homes across the country? Since 2009 the group has maintained and published their Best Nursing Homes list, a compilation of over 15,000 facilities scored along a five point scale that ranges from Poor to Top Performing (Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average, Top Performing). Those who receiving a Top Performing rating are listed as a “Best Nursing Home.” This scale is intended to to provide an easy comparison to results found on The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Nursing Home Compare site, which ranks nursing homes from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest score.

Until recently, U.S. News used CMS’ ratings as the foundation of their own nursing home grades and U.S. News & World Report nursing home ratings were virtually identical to those found on Nursing Home Compare. However, U.S. News recently decided to change the way they rate nursing homes to give the public what they believe is a more accurate picture of the most important and relevant indicators of quality.

U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-2018 Best Nursing Homes list included 724 Illinois nursing homes. Of these, 76 facilities received a “Best Nursing Home” designation.

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nursing home abuse blog

Nominate Levin & Perconti’s Nursing Home Abuse Blog

Levin & Perconti appreciates all of the blog readers who take the time each week to visit our legal team online and review and share posts. While we do house seven different blogs, the Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect blog entries are some of the most visited and helpful for families and caretakers of nursing home residents (as well as nursing home staff) in Illinois and across the country. We often hear from clients and community partners how an educational post or newsworthy information about long-term care settings have helped many victims navigate through a confusing system of legalities while we share stories of successful litigation journeys for our nursing home abuse and neglect clients.

Because of this feedback, Levin & Perconti is thrilled to announce a call for nominations to the Expert Institute’s Best Legal Blog Contest. The annual contest coordinates a review of legal blogs on every topic generated by reader nominations. Some of the most popular issues we write about include:

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“They get into trouble, they fix things up just enough to get back into compliance and then they let things slip again. This cycle just goes on for years. Meanwhile, there are people living in these places.”

-Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy to the Lexington Herald-Leader

A tragic story out of a northern Kentucky nursing and rehabilitation center has reignited a topic that we know causes a great deal of confusion and frustration for the loved ones of nursing home residents. How does one find out who the owners of a nursing home actually are and what their history of patient care is? The details of the wrongful death case of 45-year-old Bobby Crail help highlight the ability of nursing homes to repeatedly get away with maltreatment and even skirt financial and legal responsibility. It also highlights why if your loved one has been mistreated, abused, or neglected in a nursing home, you need an attorney who has both the experience and tenacity to successfully stand up to major corporations capable of these horrific behaviors.

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elderly financial exploitation

3 Times Nursing Home Staff Stole and Were Caught

It feels as though nursing home staff seem to be caught stealing from vulnerable and sick residents and their facilities more often. Brought on by the nation’s opioid epidemic, staff steal medication and patient drugs most often, but theft can also be in the form of residents’ possessions or finances, and when executives swindle millions from the company and spend it on personal items or other investments. Here is a special review of three times Illinois nursing home staff stole, they were caught, and justice was served.

  1. Drug Theft
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nursing home abuse and neglect

5 Causes of Nursing Home Resident Anxiety

Unfortunately, for many reasons’ anxiety happens more often by long-term care residents than by those who live in the general community. Several recent studies published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry identified common rates for anxiety disorders in long-term care settings escalated as high as 20 percent compared to just 1.4 percent of the elderly living at home. And while there are many causes for anxiety, some being natural occurrences in line with mental illnesses such as Parkinson’s Disease or dementia and medication side-effects, anxiety can also run parallel with emotional responses to anticipated pain, danger, illness, or fear.

  1. Pain