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nursing home disease control

Hundreds of Illinois Nursing Homes Fail to Control Deadly Diseases

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 380,000 nursing home residents die each year due to care related infections. Sadly, similar to most nursing home sicknesses and injuries, many of these infections are preventable. In reviewing a report from the Long Term Care Coalition using data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in December of 2018, hundreds of nursing homes in Illinois received a low care rating for programs that investigate, control and keep infections from spreading. Citations for the last three years reveal more than a dozen of these facilities are housed in Chicago and were given the lowest grade possible, an “F”, in protecting residents from preventable harm, injury, and death related to disease control.

  1. Aperion Care International (4815 South Western Avenue)
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nursing home abuse

Nursing Homes Often Use These Common Defenses When Accused of Abuse and Neglect

The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti have nearly three decades of experience in defending residents who have had their rights violated and become injured while under the care of others. Through our work we have been able to identify the many common ways nursing homes will attempt to defend themselves even when guilty of obvious wrongdoings which created harm to an already vulnerable individual. These injuries can range from physical and sexual abuse to careless neglect stemmed from medication mismanagement, poor hygiene, haphazard slips and falls, untreated bedsores, malnourishment and dehydration. These injuries can quickly become deadly when not discovered soon enough and are typically created by nursing home operators who make greedy choices that put patients at risk. Some of those common actions include:

  • Reducing or underreporting staffing levels
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nursing home reform

Latest Senate Hearing Shows CMS Can Do More to Protect Nursing Home Residents

On Wednesday, March 6, 2019 another government session, this time led by the US Senate Committee on Finance, was held to discuss several disturbing reports of nursing home abuse and neglect and the lack of preventative measures and faulty reporting system used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create environments for quality resident care. The hearing was led by Chairman, Chuck Grassley (R – IA) and Ranking Member, Ron Wyden (D – OR) with special panelist testimony delivered by family members of residents fallen victim to nursing home abuse or neglect.

A Minnesota woman heartbreakingly remembered her mother, an Alzheimer’s patient who was raped by care staff. During the hearing she said, “My final memories of my mother’s life now include watching her bang uncontrollably on her private parts for days after the rape, with tears rolling down her eyes, apparently trying to tell me what had been done to her but unable to speak due to her disease.” A woman from Iowa shared her family’s concern after their mother died in a nursing home ranked with the highest possible quality of resident care scores from CMS even though the organization had been seriously fined for physical and verbal abuse. The elderly woman was allegedly left in severe pain and may have been dehydrated days before her nursing home death.

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types of strokes

Nursing Homes Are Not Always Equipped to Recover Stroke Patients

2016 recommendations from the American Stroke Association (ASA) still stand true in 2019. If someone living in a nursing home has a stroke, they should be treated in an inpatient rehabilitation facility, rather than remain in the home. The resident may need intensive, multidisciplinary treatment and initial rehabilitation should take place in a specialized care facility equipped with the appropriate care staff. The ASA recommendations go on further to say that the “patient should participate in at least three hours of rehabilitation a day from physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists.” Since nurses are continuously available and doctors visit more often than at nursing homes, any form of recovery will be faster than if the patient remains under previous nursing home care.

6 Types of Stroke

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bed sore injuries

The Most Important Way to Reduce Complications from Pressure Ulcers Is by Preventing Them

A pressure ulcer, also known as a bed sore, a pressure sore or a decubitus ulcer, may not appear serious at first. The open wound often begins with small red marks on areas of the skin that are in continuous contact with surfaces such as bed linens. Sadly, they are one of most common and preventable injuries that occur in nursing homes and can actually serve as a serious warning signal of nursing home neglect. The sore will almost always make itself known but when the discovery of it gets to this stage it can be a sad situation for any family member to be informed of. By this time, the sore has usually broken down so much skin that the underlying tissue, sometimes bone, is now exposed. These injuries are sure to reveal a larger scope of care issues impacting your loved one’s health. When not taken care of or treated with the medical attention required, pressure sores can lead to severe infection, a general decline in overall health, unnecessary emotional anguish and painful discomfort, and even death.

Questions to Ask If Your Loved One Has a Pressure Ulcer

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On Wednesday, the United States Senate Committee on Finance held a public hearing entitled “Not Forgotten: Protecting Americans From Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes.” The hearing included statements from adult children of nursing home residents who were the victims of rape, abuse, and neglect at the hands of their caretakers.

Letter Describes How Recent Government Actions Endanger Nursing Home Residents

Prior to the hearing, six long term care advocacy organizations banded together to send a letter to the Senate Committee on Finance to remind them of the government’s recent actions that have scaled back protections for those in nursing homes.

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nursing home staff

Underpaid Caretakers Cheer as Illinois Law Pushes Through Minimum Wage Increase Plan

Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-Ill.) is already making good on campaign promises. The new Governor recently positioned Illinois to join several other states in signing a law raising minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2020, the 81 percent increase will allow Illinois workers to see a minimum wage increase from $8.25 to $9.25 an hour. In July, minimum wage will increase to $10. Each year after that, minimum wage will increase by $1 until 2025, when it reaches $15 per hour.

The news has been well received by both caregiver home health workers and nursing home employees. For decades, the nursing home and home health care industry has remained notorious for clouding care standards with weak, ineffective, and downright lousy wages resulting in extra strains put on overworked employees. Most nursing homes actually have fewer nurses and leading medical staff than they report, leaving underqualified and stressed nursing assistants and personal aides with the 24-hour tasks to keep far too many patients’ dietary, hygiene, medication, and daily living needs met.

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nursing home opioids

Wisconsin Nurse Charged for Stealing Opioids from Three Nursing Homes

News of a Wisconsin nurse charged with stealing medication from three nursing homes is unfortunately too common of a read these days. According to the Feb. 2019 criminal complaint, the 36-year-old nurse was charged with four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and two counts of misdemeanor theft while being employed by Atrium Health Care in Chippewa County. The charges came after another employee contacted local police alerting them that a worker at a nursing home had her name forged in a book that tracks narcotic counts. The book showed Oxycodone had been signed out 11 times with conflicting signatures.

The thief, who was also a trusted nurse, was soon identified and later admitted to taking Opioids and prescription pills, including Vicodin, Oxycodone and Lorazepam, and others from two nursing homes she worked at as well. Opioid drugs are commonly prescribed by physicians for nursing home residents with moderate to severe pain and those in serious, life-threatening illness and can include:

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nurse to patient ratio
On Feb. 27, 2019, registered nurses in Illinois, with support of National Nurses United, began lobbying lawmakers in support of a mandated minimum nurse-to-patient ratio. Currently, California is the only state with mandatory nurse staffing ratios established for acute care, acute psychiatric and specialty hospitals. The Illinois proposal would mimic California’s design but also mandate minimum staffing standards in long term acute-care hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Although this is not new news for Illinois nurses and their 15-year fight for better staffing ratios, the union continues to rally for the mandate citing that patient health is compromised because too few nurses must care for too many patients.

“Mandatory minimum nurse-to-patient ratios save lives,” said Talisa Harden, a registered nurse at the University of Chicago Medicine in a union published news release. “As nurses, we’ve always known it, and now there is a robust body of peer-reviewed literature that proves it. Illinois patients deserve safe and therapeutic care no matter where they are admitted. This bill will make all Illinois patients safer.”

Nursing Homes May Be Deceptive in Staff-to-Patient Ratio Reporting

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On Thursday, a bill that aims to guarantee the essential American right to a trial by jury is being introduced in Washington. The bill, named the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (FAIR Act) and introduced in the House by Rep. Hank Johnson (GA) and in the Senate by Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT), would eliminate arbitration clauses often found in consumer, patient, and employee agreements. Arbitration agreements take away our Constitutional right to a trial by jury and now begins our chance to finally have a voice in getting rid of these agreements that are nothing more than a strong arm tactic used by those who have all the power.

Why You Should Care About Arbitration

Arbitration is a process in which a wronged person must air their grievances in a private, closed room with an arbitrator instead of in a court room with a judge and jury. Arbitrators, unlike judges, are selected by those demanding the agreement and studies have proved their tendency to choose an outcome that heavily favors the offender. In other words, if you find yourself forced into arbitration, you’ll likely leave the process without having things made right.