COVID-19 in Nursing Homes - Learn More.

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visitation rights open again covid-19

As Illinois Nursing Homes Allow for Outdoor Visitors, Family Members Can Look Out for Signs of Distress

COVID-19 is still spreading in Illinois with officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reporting 715 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, June 24, while deaths increased by 64. That brings the total cases in Illinois to 138,540, including 6,770 deaths, in 101 Illinois counties. Infections at long-term care facilities comprise nearly 16% of the state’s total cases, but nursing home residents who have died from the virus make up more than 55% of the state’s fatalities. IDPH has started to require testing of residents and staff members at those facilities, and recently announced new measures which allow for nursing home visitors to meet with residents and loved ones under strict precautions.

In a released statement by IDPH on June 18, 2020, Illinois long-term care facilities may begin to allow outdoor visitation for residents when certain conditions are met. Visits to Illinois nursing homes have been restricted since mid-March.

Family of Westchester Nursing Home COVID-19 Victim Files Suit
Rita Saunders Is One of 12 Dead at Facility With History of Neglect

CHICAGO, June 2, 2020 – Attorneys today filed suit on behalf of the family of 64-year-old Rita Saunders, who died in March following exposure to the novel coronavirus at the Westchester Health and Rehabilitation Center.

The Westchester center was the site of an early and sustained outbreak, with 47 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported at the 120-bed facility, including 12 deaths.

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.

Steve Levin

A message from Attorney Steven Levin

During these difficult times it is important for patients and their families to understand that residents in nursing homes still have the right to expect proper care.

Direct communication with facility staff, including the director of nursing and administration is key.  Find out what the staff is doing to prevent and control COVID-19.  Here are some things staff should be doing:

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.

Coronavirus disease is highly infectious and caused by a new virus that is leading to a deadly respiratory illness for at-risk populations, especially nursing home residents. During this challenging time, The Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term care has proven to be an excellent resource to those who have been isolated in a nursing home or elder community and their concerned family members. Please review and share the organization’s guidance in the hope of preventing the spread of coronavirus near you.

Coronavirus Prevention Tips for Long-Term Care Residents

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