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Articles Tagged with nursing home negligence

flu outbreaks during covid-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Care Failures Should Prepare Illinois Nursing Homes for Influenza Outbreaks

In the last flu season, an estimated 35.5 million people were sick with the illness, 16.5 million people required a health care provider for their treatment, and there were 490,600 influenza hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Due to the coronavirus pandemic and an estimated 213,000 related deaths and counting, medical communities agree that this year’s influenza burden may magnify one of the deadliest illnesses in the United States, with the elderly residing in nursing homes affected most severely.

Shockingly, U.S. nursing homes have the lowest flu shot rates among health settings, leaving many residents of nursing homes already at a significant risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, now left to battle influenza. And as we have witnessed with the rapid spread of COVID-19, many nursing homes and long-term care facilities are not necessarily prepared to prevent an infectious disease outbreak among residents and staff. The pandemic has brought renewed attention to nursing home quality issues related to infectious diseases, such as:

october long-term care residents month

October Reminds Us That “Connection Matters” for Illinois Nursing Homes Residents

Every day, Illinois families bring their loved ones to nursing homes all around the state, some feeling certain and others uncertain that they will receive the high-quality care and comfort needed and their rights protected. Unfortunately, willful neglect, preventable accidents and illnesses, and abuse occur even in the most highly-rated facilities. October is a time to remind families and residents of the many rights designed to protect them from these situations.

Residents’ Rights Month is an annual event held in October by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect, and long-term care residents’ value. This year’s theme is “Connection Matters.” The theme emphasizes connections – to family, friends, and the community – as essential components of good health and residents’ quality of life.

inspecting illinois nursing homes

Nursing Homes Cited for Mistreatment Are Flagged with Special Icon on Government Website

In 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s (CMS) Five-Star Quality Rating System via The Nursing Home Compare website added a new tool to help better identify elder-care facilities with extreme and troublesome care failures. When visiting the site, the most troubled homes, many with only a one-star rating, also display a red circle with a white hand inside. The stop-sign-like icon can be used as a way to warn families of long-term care facilities currently in non-compliance and those with a documented struggle to meet Federal and state quality care measures.

These facilities meet the following criteria:

Partners At Illinois Law Firm Recognized As Leaders

Levin & Perconti Partners Chosen as Influential Leaders in Legal Profession

Levin & Perconti partners Margaret Battersby Black and Mike Bonamarte have been separately acknowledged for their work as leading attorneys in Illinois. Battersby Black has been nominated for her rising influence as a woman in the legal field and named to Crains Notable Women list for 2020. And, Bonamarte has been asked to join the Illinois State Bar Association’s steering committee on racial inequity.

In 2020, also Battersby Black and Bonamarte joined Levin & Perconti partners Steven Levin, John Perconti, and Susan Novosad for achieving the notable 2020 Illinois Super Lawyer title. The attorneys were recognized for individual and team work representing clients in medical malpractice and personal injury cases, including nursing home abuse and neglect. Bonamarte and Battersby Black were previously honored by the Super Lawyers Rising Stars program for early-career lawyers, multiple times.

selecting a nursing home in 2020

Transitioning A Loved One Into a Nursing Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Nursing homes and assisted living centers should offer a safe place for your loved one, whether he or she is your parent, a family member, or a friend who needs guided rehabilitation or to make a senior care facility their future residency. It is normal for you to have questions and be concerned as a quarter of all nursing home residents will experience abuse during their residency and the coronavirus pandemic has brutally targeted the elderly nursing home population.

As you begin your research, schedule a virtual tour of a facility, or speak with an administrator, review these questions to guide your learning about the home’s staffing, environment, and infectious disease outbreaks.

understaffing and falls at nursing homes
Like many U.S. nursing homes, elder care facilities in Illinois seem continuously challenged by an inadequate amount of care workers. Even though the state requires 2.5 hours of direct care for residents each day, about a quarter of the residents in Chicago-area homes are living in understaffed conditions putting them at risk for abuse and neglect.

While some long-term care facilities have been routinely understaffed for years, others continue to manage facilities with very little interest in providing attentive and quality resident care even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. As a result, fall-related injuries among residents are on the rise.

Hazards that contribute to nursing home resident fall injuries have included:

can dehydration cause delirium
An altered mental status is a difficult condition for nursing home residents to manage on their own, especially when symptoms can present slowly and brushed off for age-related memory loss, stress, medication side-effects, lack of sleep, or other conditions like dementia. Delirium, sometimes referred to as “sundowning” or “psychosis”, is one of those conditions that if misdiagnosed or treated with overmedication, can worsen quickly with irreversible outcomes including long-term cognitive impairments.

Delirium has been defined by The American Delirium Society (ADS) as a state of confusion that comes on very suddenly and lasts hours to days. If a nursing home resident becomes delirious, they may have hallucinations, disorganized thinking, difficulty understanding daily tasks, and inability to pay attention and be unaware of their environment or trust of the people in it. Delirium affects nearly 18% of long-term care residents and has a staggering 40% one-year mortality rate.

Nursing homes have been known to manage residents with disruptive behaviors in less productive ways, and many things can make delirium (and other mental conditions) worse, such as:

covid-19 pandemic highlights
U.S. nursing home residents, totaling 1.2 million seniors and nonelderly people with disabilities living in over 15,000 facilities, are at increased risk of coronavirus infection and complications. The combined challenges of the facility setting and shared living environment, residents with underlying health conditions, the close contact that many care workers have with residents, and failures in facilities who do not provide quality care, all contribute to the high number of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in the elder communities.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), as of August 7, 20202:

  • More than 25,000 cases of COVID-19 have been traced back to nursing home residents and staff, resulting in 4,162 deaths.

abuse of covid-19 relief funds

Some U.S. Nursing Home Providers Will Misuse COVID Relief Funds

A revealing story published in the Washington Post shows that many for-profit nursing homes across the U.S., received hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID relief by The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The funds were intended to be shared to help health care workers and nursing home residents address pandemic-related shortcomings in care, but came with few spending restrictions. Unfortunately, some for-profit owners may take advantage of the support rather than spend the money on necessities such as personal protective equipment or hazard pay for nurses and aides caring for residents battling COVID-19.

According to Health and Human Services (HHS):

nursing homes high risk of covid-19

Illinois Nursing Home Facilities with Ongoing Infectious Disease Shortcomings

For decades, nursing home owners and operators have cut corners and allowed their facilities to perform under minimal oversight. Legal liability serves a definite purpose and is a functional safeguard for nursing home residents who have the right to be served by an operation that complies with laws and regulations. Our attorneys are currently investigating outbreaks and reviewing over 100 complaints involving assisted living, long-term care, and skilled nursing facilities that have failed to uphold adequate procedures and responsibility related to the COVID-19 outbreak in the greater Chicago area and surrounding communities in Illinois.

Here is a summary of facilities representing only a small number of our findings.

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