Thut has been with the firm since 201 and earned his law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. A.J. has successfully settled and tried to verdict a variety of cases, including a $2.77 million jury verdict in a nursing home fall case.
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.
The quick spread of coronavirus and strict isolation measures overtaking U.S. nursing homes has created a stressful time for not only nursing home care staff but all nursing home residents. Many of these residents are battling health conditions, living away from family, and now restricted from visitors and isolated in their rooms, or have been moved into different areas of the facility where they can no longer socialize with others. An individuals’ moral, as well as the types of mental health care resources available in nursing homes, are important considerations to take seriously during these ongoing disruptions.
In the midst of the pandemic, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News performed a survey requesting feedback from nursing home administrators and nursing directors on how they are working to “keep spirits up” during the lockdown and what types of extra attention directed toward residents is being provided.
As of March 19, public health officials in Illinois have recognized four long-term care facilities in the Chicago area reporting COVID-19 cases. This includes a possible coronavirus outbreak inside a nursing home in west suburban Willowbrook involving 46 people, including 33 residents and 13 staff.
As public health officials wait on additional test results to come back related to Willowbrook, two residents have tested positive for COVID-19 in Evanston at Three Crowns Park, there is one confirmed case at Admiral at the Lake facility in Chicago’s Edgewater, and a staff member at the Church Creek Senior Living Center in Arlington Heights is also infected. Nursing home advocates and family members of residents are only left to wonder how the viral spread might make its way into other facilities around the state.
Levin & Perconti founder and attorney Steven Levin joined ABC7 to talk about how an already understaffed long-term care system continues to weaken the care of our most vulnerable citizens due to COVID-19.
Nursing home residents are at the center of a perfect storm: starkly vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, which has proven particularly deadly to the elderly, and cut off from those who can most effectively speak up to protect them.
As experienced advocates for patients in long term care and their families, our firm is ready to help you ensure that your loved ones stay safe and healthy.
Concern for Coronavirus Spread is Now a Sobering Reality for Illinois Nursing Homes
On Tuesday, March 15, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the first death from the new coronavirus in Illinois. The woman had close contact with another person infected with the virus. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said she did have an underlying health condition but was not a resident of a nursing home facility. Although a total of 160 cases of COVID-19 have now been tracked in the state, including 22 cases at Willowbrook nursing home in DuPage County impacting 18 residents and four employees. Chicago’s WGN9 reported the first resident’s confirmed test over the weekend by state health officials. The resident is now in critical condition. The virus has since moved quickly to others at the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located in the 7000 block of South Madison Street in Willowbrook.
Fast-Changing Information About Coronavirus in Illinois (March 17, 2020)
We hope that this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. Your well-being, and that of all our clients and colleagues, is foremost in our thoughts during this difficult time.
As Levin & Perconti continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and its wide-reaching impacts, we share your deep concern for all those impacted by the coronavirus and the healthcare professionals, first responders and public officials working around the clock to care for them.
I have a loved one in a nursing home and I’m concerned about COVID-19 exposure. What should I do?
The first step is to call the director of nursing at your family member’s facility and ask about the steps they are taking to protect residents and staff. By this point, all facilities should have a written policy and action plan available for distribution. If your facility does not, request that they create it as soon as possible, and follow up until they do. 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: https://www.cdc.gov/longtermcare/pdfs/factsheet-core-elements-10-infection-prevention-questions.pdf
Although nursing homes are equipped with infection control recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and required to follow them by state and local health agencies – they simply are not. USA TODAY is reporting that “75% of U.S. nursing homes have been cited for failing to properly monitor and control infections in the last three years — a higher proportion than previously known.” These failures, often controlled by understaffed shifts, overworked caregivers, and less than 10% of facilities with infection-control specialty trained staff, all provide proof to predict that nursing homes are going to have even a tougher time preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Steven Levin, founding partner and attorney at Levin & Perconti, recently spoke to USA TODAY on the dangerous yet stagnant issue of the spread of infectious disease in nursing homes, remarking that, “The nursing homes that we deal with have extreme difficulty in handling everyday infections, and it’s an infection-rich environment.”