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nursing home opioids
Congressional Committee Leader Targets Centers for Medicare & Medicaid For Slow Changes of Antipsychotic Drug Use in Nursing Homes

Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) is the author of a January 22, 2019 letter sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) administrator, Seema Verma. In the letter, the congressional committee leader overseeing Medicare says he wants to see a closer look at how nursing homes are really using antipsychotics and is also asking for greater detail on how skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and Medicare plans alike are actively changing the way the drugs are being used.  Although antipsychotic drug overuse, theft, and abuse in nursing homes have been long-time issues in the U.S., CMS’s 2019 trend update on the problem shows nursing homes are making progress in decreasing antipsychotic prescribing.

“CMS is tracking the progress of the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes by reviewing publicly reported measures. The official measure of the Partnership is the percentage of long-stay nursing home residents who receive antipsychotic medication, excluding residents diagnosed with schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, or Tourette’s syndrome. In the fourth quarter of 2011, 23.9 percent of residents received an antipsychotic medication; since then there has been a decrease of 38.9 percent to a national prevalence of 14.6 percent in the second quarter of 2018. Success varies by state and CMS region; some states and regions have a reduction greater than 40 percent.”

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nursing home abuse webinar

Levin & Perconti Partners to Present Strafford Live Webinar on Deposing Nursing Home Employees and Owners in Neglect and Abuse Cases

Founder and Senior Partner of Levin & Perconti, Steve Levin, partner Mike Bonamarte and firm associate, Daisy Ayllon, have all been invited to present the upcoming Strafford live webinar, “Deposing Nursing Home Employees and Owners in Neglect and Abuse Cases,” scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 12:00pm-1:30pm CST. Strafford provides attorneys with the information and training they need to advance their career and remain at the top of their fields.

Webinar participants will be taught the specific techniques behind building successful depositions. Levin & Perconti panelists will discuss best practices for:

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nursing home ombudsman program

Illinois Ombudsmen May Be a Neglected Nursing Home Resident’s Only Lifeline

When a resident does not have family or friends who can visit them on a regular basis, Regional Ombudsmen or Ombudsman Volunteers may be the only persons available to help identify a problem, report care concerns, and act as a voice for those who have been neglected, forgotten, or abused. The individuals working through the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program are also crucial in protecting the rights of residents who are disabled and may have a hard time advocating for themselves. Ombudsmen oversee assigned regions across the state and stay focused on these six main goals.

  1. Advocating to improve the quality of care and quality of life for residents of long-term care facilities in Illinois.
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chicago nursing home attorney
The Langham Hotel in downtown Chicago was the beautiful, wintry backdrop for the Society of Trial Lawyers 84th Annual Black Tie Dinner Dance this past Saturday. Over 200 guests were in attendance to honor their shared love of the law, as well as their respect for our jury system and for each other, despite often finding themselves on opposing sides. The Society of Trial Lawyers is an invite-only organization of Illinois Trial Lawyers. Members are among the most established, respected, and successful trial lawyers, representing just 1% of the 1% of attorneys who are trial lawyers.

Levin & Perconti founding partner Steve Levin serves as the group’s president and in a heartfelt speech told the crowd that the processes of arbitration and mediation are no more than a business and that “juries are the most literal embodiment of a representative democracy. They are of the people, by the people, for the people. As Thomas Jefferson said, ‘The government closest to the people, serves the people best.'”

Levin also addressed the need for trial lawyers to mentor the younger generation by warmly welcoming them, encouraging them to fight for the truth, and to lead by example. He asked the attendees to do this by modeling respect for not only the trial process, but also for their own clients, opposing counsel and their clients. Steve also called on all attorneys to “be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.”

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nursing home abuse and neglect

Leaders Say Rural Nursing Homes Face Accelerating Problems

At the close of 2018, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) reported that the fastest growing older population group in the state is age 85 and older. DCEO also projected the 85+ age group will total 402,311 people, an increase of 109 percent, by 2030. And for the geriatric population living in the state’s 62 non-metropolitan and rural counties, current growing health care challenges will create much larger eruptions of a sicker and more underserved group of older adults left to rely on limited health care services, nursing homes included.

The issue starts with an already health disparate elderly population living in rural Illinois areas who will remain dependent on small hospitals that may not provide vital geriatric services, proper diagnosis and treatment plans. Small communities that offer fewer aging support facilities such as long-term care housing, nursing homes, and assisted living centers will also contribute to the struggle as well as minimal access to quality trained, well-paid nursing home care staff. Our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers continue to work on many cases where understaffing and poorly paid staff created an easy environment for residents to become neglected, abused or mistreated, especially in rural communities.

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nursing home drug dangers

Elder Justice Coalition Links Nursing Home Abuse and Opioid Abuse

With an opioid epidemic in our country that is beyond alerting, it remains evident that the 2017 guidelines The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set forth for managing chronic pain with caution against opioid use are not being followed. The CDC continues to warn that the benefits for improving pain and function through dangerous opioids must outweigh the risks when prescribing and administering the drugs. One group of Americans persistently impacted by the mismanagement of opioids is the nursing home population.

The nonpartisan Elder Justice Coalition (EJC) recently met with the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health and Senior Advisor for Opioid Policy, Admiral Brett Giroir in response to the opioid crisis. Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Lance Robertson and leadership of the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) were also present. EJC National Coordinator Bob Blancato released this statement recapping the meeting in a January 23, 2019 EJC press release.

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In a survey of 978 people with a family member in a nursing home, Care.com found that the decision to send a loved one to a nursing home was a ‘difficult one’ for 71% of survey participants.

Over a quarter of respondents reported their feelings towards their loved one’s care in a nursing home as either “dissatisfied” or “neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.”

The survey also asked respondents to describe how often they visited their loved one in a nursing home and what prevented them from being able to visit more often. The majority of respondents (57%) said their job was the primary reason they were unable to spend more time with a family member in a nursing home.

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best illinois lawyer

Levin & Perconti 2019 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Selected

Congratulations to Levin & Perconti’s five partners and eight associates selected to the 2019 Illinois Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists. These honors are reserved for those legal professionals who exhibit excellence in practice. While up to five percent of the lawyers in Illinois are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list.

2019 Illinois Super Lawyers

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nursing home attorneys

Elopement Serves as Most Dangerous Type of Wandering During Winter Months

Several U.S. states either just encountered or are preparing for one of the most intense artic cold blasts in the last decade. Extreme weather events like this can greatly impact nursing home residents who are at risk of wandering outside of a care facility or eloping, a dangerous form of wandering. The Illinois Alzheimer’s Association says wandering represents one of many behavioral problems occurring in 6 out of 10 people living with Alzheimer’s across the state. These people tend to wander and aimlessly move about their environment without regard of their personal safety. During the cold weather seasons, nursing home administrators and care staff, as well as family members, should ensure these residents and loved ones stay safe and are prevented from wandering outdoors, especially when extreme temperature changes are present.

The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners reports the most dangerous type of wandering, called elopement, occurs when a patient attempts to completely leave the nursing home and wander outside. This is a difficult type of wandering to confront, as patients may be unable to grasp the situation and understand the actual surroundings and environmental risks. Patients are often hurt or killed while eloping, especially during the cold weather months as they are not dressed to stay warm against freezing temperatures.

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nursing home attorneys

Unsafe Medication Practices Play Harmful Role in Feeding Tube Errors

Feeding tube related neglect ranks high as one of the many care issues occurring throughout U.S. nursing homes today. Many facilities fail to commit the time and staffing to allow for extra nutritional care such as hand-feeding. There is also a temptation to overuse the tubes simply for facility cost-savings, regardless of the resident’s best interest. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices reports nearly one-third of nursing home residents with advanced cognitive impairments, such as dementia, receive their daily nutrients and medications through feeding tubes. Unfortunately, those familiar with basic elder abuse scenarios understand that residents with mental impairments and those who require extra care with daily activities such as feeding, grooming, and using the bathroom are always far more likely to fall victim to neglect.

Most feeding tubes are inserted during an acute-care hospitalization and remain in use after a discharge. But feeding tubes can cause serious patient harm including infections like pressure sores, depression, and death if not necessary or handled with the specialized care required to keep them clean and in proper use. One underreported hazard of these tubes occurs during the preparation or administering of daily medications. As noted by Joseph Boullata, PharmD, BCNSP, in an article published by the National Institutes of Health titled, “Drug Administration Through an Enteral Feeding Tube,” these four common errors can occur while administering drugs via feeding tube.