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nursing home understaffing dire

The Chronic Problems Related to Understaffed Nursing Homes

Deliberate understaffing is a common practice in nursing homes across the U.S., and especially here in Illinois, where nearly 70% of all long-term care networks are for-profit owned. When facilities are privately owned and operated, owners become more concerned about profits than having the right amount of staff available to provide quality patient care. According to a 2018-2019 report prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services, an incredible 90% of U.S. facilities are understaffed. The findings were documented by evidence through payroll records that showed nursing homes were underreporting staffing challenges.

Worker shortages contribute to nursing home struggles that sometimes lead to preventable hospitalizations, injuries, or deaths. Risky cost-cutting measures and unethical practices are creating a ripple of adverse effects that nursing home residents ultimately pay for.

covid-19 update july 2020

FAQ: July 2020 COVID-19 Update for Illinois Nursing Home Families

As of July 10th, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has reported 23,324 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,895 deaths among all Illinois long-term care (LTC) facilities, not just outbreaks. These numbers reflect over half of all coronavirus cases tied to long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living centers.

Because of the ill-preparedness and disastrous response to the pandemic by several nursing home owners and operators, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti have launched more than 100 investigations regarding gross negligence related to COVID-19 outbreaks in Illinois. And as part of our work as elder care advocates, we have provided answers and legal solutions to concerned family members and nursing home workers since the pandemic began.

inspection for nursing homes

How To Read a Nursing Home Inspection Survey To Identify Abuse or Neglect

All nursing home providers participating in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) program must meet Federal reporting requirements as well as state laws as they relate to the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Homes must also remain in substantial compliance to remain in operation and be evaluated for care standards through annual surveys and inspections. It is expected that any recorded violation will then be addressed promptly and residents will no longer be at risk from those noted deficiencies.

Families can review a website published by CMS called Nursing Home Compare. Here, they can access quality of care information for every nursing home that participates in Medicare and Medicaid in Illinois. Nursing Home Compare provides an overall star rating based on three factors: health inspections, staffing levels, and quality measures, but also includes the results of recent health inspections.

calling 911 on covid-19

Nursing Home Staff and Residents With COVID-19 Are Dialing 911 For Help

Reports from WGLT NPR show a COVID-19 outbreak at Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center had staff and nursing home residents calling 911 on numerous occasions, requesting for urgent help and resident transfers. The home is located at 925 S. Main St. in Bloomington. Illinois Department of Health coronavirus tracking reports show the facility is home to McLean County’s most significant COVID-19 outbreak to date. And the irony? Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center struggled to provide quality care and adequate staffing even before the virus hit, according to recent government inspections.

Medicare surveyor reports on the Nursing Home Compare website and IDPH inspection records show:

nursing home negligence bed sores

A Common Sign of Nursing Home Neglect Is Bedsores

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nursing home neglect is the failure to provide care for an older adult. One of the earliest and common signs of nursing home neglect is bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers.

  • Bedsores are painful wounds caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin.

40% of coronavirus deaths from nursing homes

Newly Released Data Shows Long-Term Care Facilities Report 40% of Coronavirus Deaths

Two new analyses of coronavirus deaths throughout the United States have revealed that many fatalities occur at long-term care facilities, as many as 43%. The data comes from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity and ABC News. The ABC News report added that the figure is more than 50% in at least 18 states.

  1. Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (updated May 22, 2020)

rise in covid-19 nursing home deaths

Glenview Terrace Continues Jump in COVID-19 Deaths of Residents

About a third of all COVID-19 deaths in Illinois have now been linked to long-term care facilities, and to make matters worse, cases are also doubling, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). A rehabilitation facility in Glenview is the latest to report more than two dozen COVID-19 deaths. Glenview Terrace is a 314-bed facility, located at 1511 Greenwood Road in Cook County. It has now reached 75 outbreak cases of the novel coronavirus and 25 deaths.

Glenview’s Administrator Allen Hollander told the Chicago Tribune that the people who died had first become sick in late March. Hollander also explained that more than 20 infected staff could have contracted the disease outside of the facility.

covid-19 nursing homes understaffed

As of Friday, May 1, nursing home workers at 64 Illinois facilities have said they will strike on May 8 due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), safety training, testing, emergency benefits, hazard pay, and paid time off for coronavirus-related illnesses. The workers are represented by SEIU Healthcare, a growing union of healthcare, child care, home care and nursing home workers in the Midwest.

According to the most recent news release by SEIU, “Family members, faith leaders and community supporters will call upon nursing home owners to promptly settle a fair contract with the provisions needed to safeguard both workers and residents—including above-poverty base wages, hazard pay during the current crisis, appropriate and adequate levels of PPE, plus the increased staffing levels to support quality resident care.”

Many of the workers have also been reported to say that facility owners and operators have “refused to increase staffing levels or protect workers’ healthcare coverage and haven’t been transparent about COVID-19 cases within their facilities.”

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus impacting the nearly 1.4 million patients residing in nursing homes and rehab facilities across the U.S. These individuals include the elderly and severely disabled people who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. Coronavirus can lead to a respiratory illness with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and shortness of breath. In a growing number of cases, it can be more severe than the flu, and dying from the virus is much more likely for older and health-compromised people.

There is a select group carrying characteristics that put them at higher risk of illness and death related to an infectious disease due to cognitive limitations, which impair their ability to respond to an emergency. This group includes those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Unfortunately, dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, is already “one of the only top-10 cause of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed,” says the Alzheimer’s Association. A growing majority of these individuals depend on care provided by others to manage their daily activities, medications, financial needs, and to keep them in safe environments and reside in nursing homes.

The quick spread of coronavirus and strict isolation measures overtaking U.S. nursing homes has created a stressful time for not only nursing home care staff but all nursing home residents. Many of these residents are battling health conditions, living away from family, and now restricted from visitors and isolated in their rooms, or have been moved into different areas of the facility where they can no longer socialize with others. An individuals’ moral, as well as the types of mental health care resources available in nursing homes, are important considerations to take seriously during these ongoing disruptions.

In the midst of the pandemic, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News performed a survey requesting feedback from nursing home administrators and nursing directors on how they are working to “keep spirits up” during the lockdown and what types of extra attention directed toward residents is being provided.

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