Investigations Loom Over COVID Deaths at LaSalle Veterans Home

coronavirus nursing home inspections

Illinois health officials are conducting two different investigations after nearly 200 residents, care workers, and staff at the state-run veterans home in LaSalle tested positive for coronavirus, prompting a fatal outbreak. The Illinois Department of Public Health and State Department of Veterans Affairs data shows 28 veterans at the facility have died of COVID-19 since late October.

According to an NBC report and a press conference with Gov. Pritzker before the Thanksgiving holiday, the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs is currently reviewing two possible causes of the outbreak and subsequent resident deaths. The state investigators say infectious disease safety protocols may have been ignored, including:

  1. The misuse of proper hand hygiene and hand sanitizer.
  2. Several employees who tested positive for COVID-19 attended a holiday party and may have transmitted the disease to other workers not previously infected.

The home in LaSalle is one of four long term care facilities licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health and certified by the US Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Illinois. These homes all carry 1- to 3-star ratings showcasing some of the most deficient quality care measures and reliable indicators of ongoing resident neglect and abuse.

The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti share an unwavering commitment to seek justice for the American heroes lost and their families. The families of these veterans deserve an investigative response, action, and answers.

The Importance of Managing Healthcare Personnel During a Pandemic

We all know by now that nursing home populations are at an incredibly high risk of being affected by respiratory pathogens like COVID-19. Facilities that do not follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for infection prevention and control programs are likely to experience deadly outbreaks and more positive cases.

The CDC’s recommendation to evaluate and manage healthcare personnel should include these practices even as nursing homes resume normal activities.

  • Implement sick leave policies that are non-punitive, flexible, and consistent with public health policies that support workers to stay home when ill or symptomatic.
  • Create an inventory of all volunteers and personnel who provide care in the facility. Use that inventory to determine which personnel are non-essential and whose services can be delayed if such restrictions are necessary to prevent or control transmission.
  • As part of routine practice, ask care workers (including consultant personnel and ancillary staff such as environmental and dietary services) to regularly monitor themselves for fever and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Staff should also be educated about COVID-19, the current precautions being taken in the facility, and the correct actions they should take to protect themselves and residents. To review the most updated resources for long-term care facilities and the battle against COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website.

Chicago Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys for Illinois’ Veterans

The attorneys at Levin & Perconti are experienced in helping veterans who have suffered at the hands of a poorly performing VA nursing home. If a veteran close to you has fallen ill or died because of negligent care while a resident of a nursing home, a patient at a hospital, or a guest or resident of an Illinois veterans’ facility, the Illinois nursing home and personal injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti can help you determine if you have cause to pursue legal action on behalf of them.

Levin & Perconti is prepared to work at full capacity during the COVID-19 crisis. If you are considering a legal case against an Illinois nursing home related to COVID-19, please contact us for a free consultation at 877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872. All calls and discussions with our attorneys are confidential.

Also read: Share Your COVID-19 Nursing Home Stories and Complaints with a Lawyer

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