Articles Tagged with COVID-19

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Public Health Officials Quickly Reverse New COVID-19 Reporting Method for Nursing Homes After Outcry from Families

On Friday, May 22, officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) introduced a new COVID-19 reporting system in hopes to curb new COVID-19 outbreaks. But the new method was quickly dismissed after backlash was received from long-term care advocates and family members of residents who say they need more consistent information on facilities to decide whether it is safe for their loved ones. The new reporting system was only to involve data on long-term care facilities with at least one new case in the past 28 days versus providing an overall risk measurement for all facilities in Illinois.

IDPH then decided to continue with original reporting methods that include logging all homes with cases on the IDPH website, including those that are not currently experiencing an outbreak. The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) has a map of the state’s long-term care facilities in Illinois with cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff on its website. The numbers are provisional, and the list is updated weekly to show lab-confirmed cases and cases meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) outbreak case definition. Visit the IDPH website here and scroll down to locate the county in which the facility you are looking.

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.”

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.

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.

In a McKnight’s Long-Term Care News survey published on March 30, 2020, more than 77% of the nation’s nursing homes say they are both underequipped and understaffed during the coronavirus pandemic. The findings come as groups of struggling U.S. nursing homes, including several in Illinois, begin their battle with the potentially deadly virus.

The survey found:

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.”

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care Invites You to Share #LoveFromADistance

With new directives placing strict limits on visitors to nursing homes and many assisted living facilities taking similar precautions, friends and families of residents living in long-term care facilities are using creative ways to stay in touch with their loved ones.

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

Steve Levin

A message from Attorney Steven Levin

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.

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