Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

covid-19 in geneva nursing homes

Coronavirus Cases Consume Bria of Geneva Nursing Home Marking One of Largest Outbreaks in Illinois

Located in the western suburbs of Chicago, Bria of Geneva nursing home is swiftly picking up cases of COVID-19. So far, two dozen residents are dead, and the novel coronavirus has infected at least 75 in just a few short weeks. Bria of Geneva only has 91 residents and the first resident tested positive on April 17. Thirty-seven of the Kane County home’s 120 workers have also tested positive for the virus.

Like many Illinois nursing homes, up until a few weeks ago, administrators were simply screening residents for symptoms and taking some infectious disease measures such as limiting visitors and isolating symptomatic residents. A request for extensive and broad testing, increasing the use of personal protection equipment, and accurate reporting of cases were still failed coronavirus-related prevention measures. At best, an understaffed workforce was attempting to contain the virus by transferring sick residents to a coronavirus-designated wing at another home.

financial abuse of elderly in nursing homes

Finding Out If Someone Is Stealing Your Loved One’s Money

The Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans has reported nearly $1.7 billion worth of suspicious activities, including actual losses and attempts to steal older adults’ funds. Unfortunately, the elderly, especially nursing home residents, are easy victims of financial abuse. And officials say these occurrences likely only represent a small fraction of elder financial abuse incidences. Family members or someone the victim may know, such as a long-term care facility worker, are too often the guilty party in these cases.

Financial losses are almost always more significant when the older adult knows the suspect. In 2017, the average loss per person was about $50,000 when the older adult knew the suspect and $17,000 when the suspect was a stranger. This is because residents may be very trusting to their caregivers and family members. In addition, the National Council on Aging estimates that more than 20 percent of nursing home residents are victims of financial abuse, and residents who suffer from memory disorders such as dementia are taken advantage of more often. These patients have trusting behaviors and cognitive disabilities, making them highly susceptible to the exploitation or mismanagement of their personal funds.

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.”

what are the stages and signs of dementia
An increase in those with declining cognitive abilities – such as dementia – affects an estimated 230,000 people in Illinois, according to the state’s Alzheimer’s Association. That number is expected to increase by 13 percent by 2025. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that can move slowly and requires unique support for individuals in each of the three stages: early (mild), middle (moderate), and late (severe). Many of the steps can overlap and symptoms become identified as dementia, which is the mental decline that accompanies Alzheimer’s patients.

  1. Early-stage Alzheimer’s (mild) 

In this stage, a person may still live independently, be employed, and have close relationships with friends and family. Their symptoms may not be as noticeable to them, but those close to them may start to identify early signs such as:

Nursing Homes Must Report COVID-19 Sicknesses and Deaths

COVID-19 has an alarming infection rate across the U.S., now totaling more than 672,000 confirmed cases, according to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Many of the individuals at most risk of a COVID-19 infection in Illinois reside at one of the state’s 1,200 long-term care facilities, responsible for the care of more than 100,000 individuals. Several advocates for quality long-term care are now raising questions about how accurate the reporting of COVID-19 cases among Illinois residents truly is and how that may be causing a delay in preventing the spread of the disease.

Levin & Perconti partner and attorney Steven Levin spoke to Chicago ABC7 about the role of inaccuracies in reporting COVID-19 cases in the state, saying, “I believe that reported cases are the tip of the iceberg. I believe we are going to find a scary situation once independent observers can go into the nursing homes to see what’s happened.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) says as many as 305 long-term health care facilities have felt the impact of the highly contagious virus, with many nursing homes experiencing wide-spread community transmission. While there is no publicly available list of Illinois facilities battling coronavirus infections, on Wednesday, April 15, the state reported 1,587 cases associated with long-term facilities and 296 related deaths, including residents and staff.

levin & perconti coronavirus update questions

What kinds of social distancing measures are nursing homes taking at this stage of the pandemic?

CMS guidelines have eliminated all communal meals and activities to limit residents’ contact with each other and allow facilities to repurpose communal spaces (like activity rooms) to spread residents out. Likewise, CMS is prohibiting visitation by family and friends, advocates and non-essential health care providers. The only exception is for “compassionate situations,” including but not limited to end-of-life visitation. Visitors making compassionate visits will be required to wear personal protective equipment, comply with other safety measures and refrain from physical contact. Finally, a person exhibiting any respiratory symptoms whatsoever will not be allowed to visit.

Facilities should already be following longstanding CDC guidelines for infection prevention. Here are some questions that can guide your inquiry into whether they currently comply with the rules.

wash your hands to prevent covid-19

On April 2, 2020, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provided updated guidance for nursing homes, after the agency’s first round of coronavirus-related facility surveys conducted the week of March 30. Even with the raised alarm of COVID-19’s known risk, 36% of U.S. long-term care facilities reviewed had staff who did not follow proper handwashing protocols.

Hand hygiene for infection prevention is an essential part of the U.S. response to the emergence of COVID-19. Nursing home staff should also adhere to Standard and Transmission-based Precautions when caring for patients with a coronavirus-related infection. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers “with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the preferred form of hand hygiene in healthcare settings, based upon greater access to hand sanitizer.”

The updated guidance also formalized actions related to screening all visitors for symptoms, ensuring buildings are actively complying with existing CMS and CDC protocols and using personal protective equipment (PPE) when interacting with residents whenever possible. The CDC provides the recommended PPE described in this Infection Control Guidance.

The coronavirus epidemic is pausing inspections conducted by State Survey Agencies (SSAs). The most recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance related to nursing homes and coronavirus includes a pull-back of regular CMS inspections. The federal agency said it would only conduct revisits when Immediate Jeopardy (IJ) is cited.

CMS defines IJ as: “… a situation in which entity noncompliance has placed the health and safety of recipients in its care at risk for serious injury, serious harm, serious impairment or death. These situations must be accurately identified by surveyors, thoroughly investigated, and resolved by the entity as quickly as possible. In addition, noncompliance cited at IJ is the most serious deficiency type, and carries the most serious sanctions for providers, suppliers, or laboratories (entities). An immediate jeopardy situation is one that is clearly identifiable due to the severity of its harm or likelihood for serious harm and the immediate need for it to be corrected to avoid further or future serious harm.”

Steven Levin Speaks with Chicago’s ABC7 About Coronavirus and Understaffed Nursing Homes

Nursing Home Industry Makes Plea for Protective Masks and Gowns for Workers

On Friday, March 13, Illinois nursing homes, along with every other long-term care facility in the U.S., were told to shut down visits to residents, take steps to isolate residents from one another and start screening for coronavirus symptoms. In Illinois, a nursing home located southwest of Chicago is battling the state’s first long-term care facility coronavirus outbreak. On Wednesday, March 19, nearly 50 people, including both residents and staff at the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook, were tested positive for the highly-contagious disease. Many more staff and residents are expected to be confirmed. Worldwide, “more than 200,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported, and about 8,200 have died,” according to the White House.

Adding concerns to an already highly susceptible group of people, comes a plea from the industry leader representing the nation’s 15,600 nursing homes. David Gifford, chief medical officer at the American Health Care Association, is calling for drastic support efforts and warning that many of these facilities are likely to run out of the tools, resources, staff, and personal protective equipment necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and treat infected residents. Gear includes protective masks and gowns. The industry group has asked other health care facilities such as dental offices to donate any unneeded supplies to nursing homes in their communities.

Nursing Homes Must Do More to Protect Residents and Staff

First Illinois Nursing Home to Report Coronavirus Outbreak is in DuPage County

Officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are reporting at least 46 people, including both residents and staff, have tested positive for coronavirus at a DuPage county nursing home. This is the first coronavirus outbreak in a long-term care facility in the state. Chicago’s WGN9 reported the first confirmed test of a Willowbrook resident over the weekend by state health officials. Only days later, the virus moved quickly to others at the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located in the 7000 block of South Madison Street in Willowbrook. Thirty-three of the cases are residents, and 13 are staff members. Public health officials said other residents are now isolated in another area of the facility as officials expect additional positive tests to come back. Willowbrook is a southwestern suburb of Chicago.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sent out a new set of rules for nursing home facilities on Friday, March 13. The strict guidance says that all visitors and non-essential health care personnel should be restricted, except for certain compassionate care situations, such as an end-of-life situation. In addition, long-term care staff should start being screened for symptoms before starting their shift.

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