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Nursing home residents receive an exemption from Part D co-payments, and this exemption should be extended to assisted living and board & care patients who receive Medicaid. Medications can eat away most of these residents’ incomes and residents of community-based facilities should have the same rights as nursing home residents. So ask your Senator to support the Home and Community Based Services Co-payment Equity Act (S. 1107).

Click here to read the bill

The Nursing Home Fire Safety Act would provide loans or grants to nursing homes to retrofit their buildings with automatic sprinkler systems. The bill includes a non binding “sense of the Congress” that within five years, every nursing home will be equipped with sprinklers. This bill is important because it is especially difficult to evacuate and protect nursing home residents in case of fire.

Click here to access the bill

The Senate Elder Justice Bill (S. 1070) currently has nine cosponsors and the House bill (H.R. 1783) has 61.

Click here to see whether your legislators have signed up (check bill summary and status).

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, sponsored by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder abuse. Elder abuse and neglect is a global problem, in the home and in assisted living facilities. The elderly are being abused and neglected in every country, and in every imaginable way. This is an epidemic, and examples can be found everywhere.

Last night, an 85-year-old woman went missing from her nursing home in Surrey, England and the police continue to search for her today. This is a classic example of nursing home staff failing to supervise residents. Frequently, the staff is unable to care for patients because of understaffing issues, which nursing home administrators often neglect to improve. Families can not always be present to make sure that their elderly loved ones are sufficiently cared for, and it is the responsibility of nursing home staff to fulfill the promise they make to families to look after their relatives. The Surrey nursing home resident wandered off and is at serious risk not only because she is alone and lost without money or identification, but because she is diabetic and requires regular medication. This unfortunate mistake is another illustration of the importance of being constantly aware of signs of abuse and neglect in the elderly in order to prevent the occurrence of mistreatment.

An $825,000 settlement was recently reached for a 75-year-old Illinois nursing home resident who died as a result of similar neglect. Even though the resident had dementia and a history of wandering, the nursing home provided a tracking bracelet but failed to verify that it was functioning, failed to properly supervise him, and failed to promptly notify the police. As a consequence of this neglect, the man wandered out of the facility and into bitter cold temperatures, resulting in hypothermia and ultimately death. The resident was represented by John J. Perconti and Patricia Gifford of Chicago law firm Levin & Perconti.

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) announced that the 2nd annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is to be held on June 15, 2007. The day is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action which recognizes the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. Throughout the world, abuse and neglect of older persons is largely under-recognized or treated as an unspoken problem at home and at long-term care facilities.

As the average world population grows older, we must concern ourselves with the well-being of those individuals. The elderly are often taken advantage of due to some unfortunate side-effects of aging. If you suspect an elderly person is being physically, mentally, or emotionally abused or neglected please take action now!

Please visit the website of INPEA for further information on this important day Continue reading ›

A warm welcome to Alison Hirschel as president of the NCCNHR. The NCCNHR focuses on such issues as nursing home abuse and neglect, adequate staffing in nursing home, working conditions of long-term care staff, resident’s rights, family support, development and support for the long-term care ombudsman program, and more. This organization has achieved great success and continues further in its work toward much needed nursing home reform.

Click here to find out more about the NCCNHR

If so, please contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of greater Chicago. NAMI is a non-profit organization that has been helping families affected by mental illnesses since 1979. Over 51 million Americans are affected by one or more mental disorders. Even if you don’t know anyone affected by a mental illness you can still help the cause! The Namiwalks for the Mind of America is a nationwide fundraising and mental health awareness program that is being held in over 70 communities including Chicago, Illinois. For more information on the walk and other ways in which you can help build awareness and understanding, click here.

Levin & Perconti has recently donated to the Academy of Elder Law. The Academy, a not-for-profit association that assists those that work with elder clients and their families, including attorneys, bar organizations and others. Academy is a resource for education, information, networking and assistance to those who deal with the many specialized issues involved with legal services to the elderly and those with special needs, including cases of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Click here to visit the NAELA website

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