Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse

do not sign nursing home contracts

Many long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living centers, will request forced arbitration agreements to be signed before a resident has been admitted. And as one of the country’s leading nursing home and abuse law firms, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti believe that these agreements only make it more difficult for residents to seek justice in the case of them being harmed, injured, or neglected.

Forced pre-dispute arbitration:

  • takes advantage of vulnerable long-term care consumers

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.

How to Prepare Your Nursing Home Complaint and Who to Contact

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulates and inspects Illinois nursing homes and long-term care facilities under the state’s licensing acts, regulations, and federal Medicare Conditions of Participation. The state’s 24-hour a day Nursing Home Hotline receives nearly 19,000 complaint calls each year.

protect loved ones from coronavirus

CMS Says U.S. Nursing Homes Should No Longer Allow ‘Most’ Visitors

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma joined President Trump’s news conference on coronavirus on March 13 in the Rose Garden, where he declared a national emergency. Verma announced that guidance will be coming for U.S. nursing homes about harsher visitor restrictions. She also said the new restrictions now include “all visitors and non-essential personnel, with few exceptions, such as end-of-life situations.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that visitors and healthcare personnel are the most likely sources of introduction of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus strain, into a long-term care facility. Many facilities in Illinois have already imposed their own harsh visitor rules in hopes of slowing the spread of the fatal virus that is responsible for the death of 22 residents of a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington as of Wednesday, March 11.

my relative has coronavirus

Federal Agencies Restrict Nursing Home Visitor Access as Coronavirus Spreads

As of March 10, 2020, there are now more than 1,000 cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S., according to the state and local health agencies, governments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nineteen individuals in Illinois have tested positive for COVID-19. The highly contagious disease which puts the elderly and those with underlying health conditions into respiratory distress, has businesses, schools, and health agencies on heightened alert. Nursing homes especially have been called upon to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Stricter guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH), and the Illinois Health Care Association is rapidly increasing for these facilities.

The most recent updated federal nursing home guidance comes from a memo delivered on March 9, by CMS, the agency in charge of regulating and enforcing care standards for the nation’s long-term care network.

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