COVID-19 in Nursing Homes - Learn More.

$17,700,000

Brain injury due to nursing staff negligence

$14,000,000

Ignored x-ray results delaying diagnosis of lung cancer

$12,000,000

Failure to diagnosis causes wrongful death

$10,000,000

Truck ran over five year boy

$7,620,000

HMO doctor ignored mother's complaints resulting in death

$7,000,000

Vietnam veteran PTSD wrongful death

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Illinois Lawmakers Introduce “COVID-19 Safety Net” Bill Until In-Person Visitation Resumes

There have been over 70,000 positive COVID-19 cases in Illinois nursing homes and over 10,300 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began. Sadly, nearly half of the state’s total death count has been nursing home residents. Many were never able to see their loved ones in person or say goodbye to them before they passed as almost all residents and their family members were prevented from visits for some time. Although the pause was likely necessary to prevent the further spread of the highly contagious virus, it also triggered concerns of abuse and neglect going unnoticed and a call from industry advocates to do more.

Most families have been forced to use or purchase personal devices for residents, but the failure to coordinate the calls showed how ill-equipped homes and staff are. Sadly, regular calls are not a reality for most Illinois long-term care residents. For some of the luckier residents, virtual visits were enough to keep their loved ones knowing they are being looked after, especially those with cognitive disabilities such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s disease.

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U.S. Nursing Homes Must Do More to Recruit, Train, and Retain CNAs

Understaffed nursing home teams have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic, especially certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who consist as much as 40% of a nursing home’s workforce. These employees support the daily needs of residents and long-term care patients, such as dressing, bathing, food preparation and eating, rehabilitation, hygiene, keeping communication with family members, socialization, and ambulating.

When CNAs do not have support or are treated poorly, it ultimately puts nursing home residents in harm’s way. Among many other oversights, call lights will be missed, hygiene becomes unhealthy among residents, patient morale, safety, and mental health reach low levels, medication routines lapse or become too familiar, and rotating residents at risk for bed sores are quickly forgotten.

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Report Shows Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gravely Affected Resident Exposure to COVID-19 at LaSalle Nursing Home

The Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released its investigative report identifying the causes behind the massive COVID-19 outbreak in the fall of 2020 at the state-run veterans’ Home in LaSalle. The long-awaited public report confirms what many of us already know and outlines the unforgiving failures that resulted in the untimely death of 36 people from coronavirus. Notes published by the OIG show that the facility did not implement the proper infection control policies to prevent the spread of the disease among staff and residents and allowed a deadly outbreak to go on despite warnings. 

The report paints a gloomy picture that documents failures from many. It leads with, “Ultimately, our investigation determined that the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (IDVA) lack of COVID-19 preparation contributed to the scope of the outbreak at the home. In addition, failures in communication at the home and within the IDVA leadership also contributed to a delayed response to the outbreak.”

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Preventable Fall Injury Highlighted in Survey at Illinois Veterans Home

In Quincy, the Illinois Veterans Home recently reported a resident fall incident on March 15, 2021, to the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH). According to a follow-up survey led by the state on March 27, 2021, a resident (R1) was injured from a fall after the facility failed to keep his environment safe and a walkway free of clutter. The resident told surveyors he had tripped on a cord and hit his head after falling to the floor. The man was transferred via ambulance to a local hospital to treat a forehead laceration that required seven sutures and a brain injury diagnostic scan. The man was admitted to the hospital overnight for observation.

IDPH’s fall incident investigation documented this pattern of events:

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3 Illinois Nursing Homes Are Stuck on Government List for Ongoing Poor Quality Ratings and Care Citations

A recent effort sponsored by Pennsylvania senators Pat Toomey and his counterpart Bob Casey shows that the nation’s most troubled nursing homes require expanded support, specific to expanding the Special Focus Facility program and the list provided by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and state inspectors which publicly review ongoing nursing home care and identify quality issues.

According to CMS officials, the “Special Focus Facility” (SFF) program was created to identify nursing homes that are not meeting health care or fire safety standards and are continuously cited for deficiencies.

sexual abuse in nursing homes

April is Sexual Abuse Awareness Month: How to Report Sexual Assault in Nursing Homes

Any touching, fondling, or form of sexual activity when the person cannot understand, is unwilling to consent, threatened, or physically forced is considered sexual abuse. And according to the Administration for Community Living, on average, there are over 1,000 complaints of sexual abuse in nursing homes each year. However, that average does not include sexual abuse by other residents — which means the actual rate of sexual abuse in nursing homes is likely to be even higher. Also, state and federal surveyors who lead inspections count physical, financial, and sexual allegations in one category, so it may be challenging to know the actual abuse risk when investigating a nursing home using public records.

The following people commonly commit sexual abuse in nursing homes:

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Levin & Perconti Attorneys Represent Family of Korean War Veteran Who Died During Veterans Home COVID-19 Outbreak

In a wrongful death lawsuit filed against The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Levin & Perconti Law Firm is representing the estate of 90-year-old Korean War veteran Richard Cieski. In November 2020, Mr. Cieski was a resident who died after being exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak at the state-run veterans’ facility, located at 1015 Oconor Avenue in LaSalle, Illinois.

Levin & Perconti partner Michael Bonamarte said that Mr. Ciskei’s death could have been avoided had LaSalle taken appropriate precautions. That includes preventing breaks in infection control practices, understaffing care worker shifts, relaxed masking orders and disregard for proper hand hygiene, and little or no social distancing in some facility areas.

violation of patient discharge laws

The Nation’s Largest Senior Living Operator Sued for Wrongfully Discharging Patients

California’s attorney general, Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer, and local officials are suing ten of Brookdale Senior Living Inc.’s California-based skilled nursing facilities. The suit alleges that the nation’s largest senior living home operator had misled consumers on quality ratings and broke laws intended to protect patients when they are discharged from a facility if their Medicare coverage ended. The company is also said to have failed in giving the 30-day notice of transfers or discharges as required for all U.S. skilled nursing facilities.

“Brookdale does this so it can fill its beds with residents who will bring in more money,” the lawsuit files read. It says the company will discharge patients “regardless of the care and treatment needs,” and that the company also failed to prepare patients to be released or transferred adequately, gave false information to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid that it uses to award quality ratings, and over-reported its nursing staffing hours to the feds.

safety book on covid-19

Medical Malpractice Briefing Includes Facts on U.S. Nursing Home Industry’s Failed Response To COVID

The 2021 update to the briefing book Medical Malpractice: By The Numbers, published by the Center for Justice & Democracy (CJ&D) at New York Law School, has been released and includes the latest statistics and research on issues related to medical malpractice, including long-term care wrongdoing. The 141-page volume includes over 400 linked footnotes and sources. It also discusses how laws could make it harder for patients and their families to place accountability on health care providers and nursing home owners in the case of medical negligence.

Medical Malpractice as it Relates to Long Term Care Providers

burden of nursing home assistants

COVID-19 Proved Just How Unsupported Nursing Assistants Are at U.S. Long-Term Care Facilities

According to the National Direct Care Workforce Resource Center,

more than 600,000 nursing assistants provide personal care, assistance with daily activities, and clinical support for 1.4 million nursing home residents nationwide. In a revealing editorial by the Co-Founder & CEO of the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA), Lori Porter says the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic has been the darkest time for these workers, resulting in failures in care and protection against injuries, illness, and infectious diseases.

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