Articles Posted in Nursing Home Staff

nursing home visits during covid-19

New Federal Guidelines Expand Visitation Options in Some Illinois Nursing Homes, Families Should Lookout for Signs of Abuse or Neglect

Although the risk of COVID-19 transmission within nursing homes and other long-term care facilities has been high, related outbreaks and deaths in nursing homes are down, according to a report by The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. And with many facilities now operating with residents fully vaccinated, in-person nursing home visits are being allowed at some senior living facilities in Illinois.

According to the updated guidance released on March 10, 2021, from CMS, facilities can now allow responsible indoor visitation for all residents unless specific scenarios arise that would limit visitation options, such as an increase in community infections. The updated CDC’ visitation guidance recommends long-term care facilities follow these specific guidelines:

nursing homes understaffed for covid-19

Warnings Emerge After COVID-19 Outbreak Caused by New Variant of Virus is Detected in Kentucky Nursing Home

The public has been informed of several new variants of the coronavirus for some time, including some of the more known viruses circulating, such as the UK variant, the Brazil variant, or the South Africa variant. But on Mar. 16, 2021, a recent outbreak of COVID-19 involving 41 cases at a nursing home in Eastern Kentucky could be what health officials say was triggered by an entirely new strain. The outbreak involved 14 staff and 27 residents, with several testing positive for the new variant. Health officials in Kentucky say those nursing home residents and staff who have contracted the virus and have been fully vaccinated have not gotten seriously ill and have significantly reduced symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says viruses constantly change through mutation, and “new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear.” At other times, new variants emerge and persist and can be just as dangerous as the initial strain.

understaffing in nursing homes

New Study Highlights Ongoing Issues with High Staff Turnover as Major Contributor to COVID Nursing Home Deaths

As almost all U.S. nursing homes are working to vaccinate residents and staff, ongoing issues impacting the care residents require are proving to be the cause behind some of the most horrendous coronavirus neglect cases and disastrous infectious disease outbreaks in history. Authors of a new study published in Health Affairs on Mar. 1 highlight the persistent problems caused by an unstable long-term care workforce as one of the significant underlying threats that contributed to the staggering death tolls of nursing home residents start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At least 172,000 deaths from the virus had been reported among either residents or employees of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities by late February. In Illinois, the number of nursing home deaths as of Mar. 5 was 9,894.

As one of the nation’s leading nursing home abuse and neglect law firms, our attorneys found the study’s comprehensive findings were both devastating, but unfortunately, not shocking.

nursing home reform package covid-19

Legislators Send Nursing Home Reform Package to New York Governor in Response to Disastrous COVID-19 Care

New York state, once ground zero for the COVID-19 pandemic and where long-term care tragedies have left many in shock, may soon become the new epicenter for nursing home care reform. State lawmakers began passing several measures on Feb. 22, as scandals break and the coronavirus pandemic continues to haunt residents, their families, and underpaid and overworked care teams. And on Wednesday, Mar. 3, the New York Assembly passed another series of nursing home-related bills to increase the transparency of facility violations, require quality assurance, and study long-term care facilities in the state. The lawmakers have said the sweeping reforms were designed to “increase safety and improve the quality of life for New Yorkers living in nursing homes.”

These are the highlights focused on New York’s four overall nursing home quality and coronavirus care-related issues addressed in the reform package. A detailed statement regarding the legislation was released by New York’s Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) on Mar. 4 and can be reviewed in more detail here.

antipsychotics and brain injury

Fall-Related Brain Injuries Go Unnoticed Too Often in Nursing Home Residents

March is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. Those who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) acquired their irreversible injury due to severe trauma – typically when the head violently hits an object or an object pierces the skull and enters the brain. These brain injuries can be serious for the elderly, especially those with underlying conditions, and require greater assistance with daily living activities, such as long-term care patients and nursing home residents. For this older group, TBI is physically painful and can cause devastating mental and emotional challenges.

Severe skull fractures and TBI are also, unfortunately, the most common fall-related injuries that lead to a decline in an older adult’s health, including death. Ultimately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TBI contributes to 20% or about 1,800 nursing home resident deaths each year.

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COVID-19 Vaccines Are Showing Improvement in Illinois Nursing Home Infections

Finally, as more and more vaccines are being distributed by CVS Health and Walgreens and now received by Illinois’ most vulnerable residents against the coronavirus, the majority of the state’s 1,800 long-term care sites have now completed their first round of shots. The CDC reported on a sample of 11,460 skilled-nursing sites that while 77.8% of residents had received a dose, only 37.5% of employees received their first dose. The low number could prove to be problematic and related to inadequate worker training and education.

Nursing home residents, rehabilitation patients, and those dependents on assisted living services account for nearly half of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. The Illinois Department of Public Health recorded only 861 new cases and 85 fatalities among residents during the week ending Friday, Feb. 18. That was the lowest weekly death tally for Illinois long-term care facilities since October.

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2021 Justice in Aging Guide Identifies 25 Ongoing Nursing Home Problems

State-licensed elder care and rehabilitation centers in Illinois may include assisted living facilities, and residential or personal care homes. Unfortunately, hundreds of investigations into these facilities continue to reveal these 25 repetitive problems noted by the Justice in Aging. The organization’s newly published 2021 list points to issues related to relaxed oversight and understaffing workforces, preventable resident injuries, painful and unnecessary evictions, Medicaid complications, dangerous patient abuse and neglect, and irreversible tragedies for families.

Problem #1: Providing Less Care to Medicaid-eligible Residents

covid-19 death by negligence nursing home

Levin & Perconti Representing Bloomington Family After COVID-19-Related Nursing Home Death

In May 2020, Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health, located at 1925 South Main Street in Bloomington, was home to a COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in 59 confirmed cases among staff and residents and the death of 11 residents. Levin & Perconti is representing the family of one of those residents. Marlene Cowans-Hill, a 72-year-old woman from Bloomington, was a resident at the long-term care facility when the outbreak occurred.

Levin & Perconti lawyers filed the lawsuit against the facility’s parent company, Petersen Health Care, on November 20, 2020, alleging “gross negligence” related to Cowans-Hill’s lack of attention and care by staff and her untimely death. Her daughter, Anita Martin of Bloomington, is named as the plaintiff in the lawsuit. The 48-page lawsuit alleges the older woman suddenly became sick while living at the long-term care facility and tested positive for COVID-19 just days before she died.

medicaid fraud case

Former Chicago Nursing Home Executive Has Sentence Commuted After Found Guilty of Largest U.S. Medicare Fraud Scheme

Philip Esformes, who used to be a well-known Chicago-area nursing home mogul, also known as the King of Medicaid Fraud, was released from prison after President Donald Trump commuted his sentence on December 22, 2020. The Presidential commutation disturbingly lessened the former executive’s criminal sentence, without vacating the conviction itself. Esformes, 51, was arrested in 2016 for various acts of criminal conduct tied to a $1.3 billion Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme found through a complex web of bank accounts and systemic payment of bribes. Ultimately, he was caught continuously cycling as many as 14,000 nursing home and assisted living residents in Chicago and Miami while collecting millions from government programs designed to support services he never provided. In 2019, Federal prosecutors sentenced Esformes to 20 years in prison.

“Esformes exploited and victimized patients by providing inadequate medical care and poor conditions in his nursing homes. We will continue the fight against such parasites.” -Shimon Richmond, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector Generals (Miami)

end of infinity health care strike

Chicago-Area Nursing Home Workers Ask For New Contract and Agree To ‘Tentatively’ End Strike

Much like hospital staff, Illinois nursing home employees have been working under complicated circumstances as the coronavirus continues to spread. So, it comes with no surprise that after requests for a safer workplace had stalled since June, an estimated 700 care workers from Infinity Healthcare Management walked off the job in late November, prompting a 12-day strike. The employees, who have been facing extreme workplace challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the greater Chicago-area, say they deserve significant wage increases equal to other nursing homes. The workers asked for a $2 an hour bump in pay and COVID hazard pay for all employees working at a facility with positive residents without attendance requirements, and also a guarantee for tools and resources such as personal protection equipment (PPE).

The nursing home workers and SEIU Healthcare Illinois union leaders announced on Friday, December 4th, that they had reached a possible agreement with Infinity leaders. The new ‘tentative’ agreement, according to SEIU, calls for a new three-year contract which includes:

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