Articles Tagged with nursing homes

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nursing home illness

Last Flu Season Was Deadliest for Nursing Home Residents

During the 2017-2018 flu season, an estimated 80,000 Americans died and 900,000 were hospitalized, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), making last year one of the deadliest our country has even seen with the elderly and very young children affected most severely. A new study from Brown University School of Public Health reports that a more immunogenic vaccine, such as the adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV), can improve clinical outcomes in nursing home patients compared with a non-adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine.

According to the CDC, older adults with weaker immune systems also may have a lower protective immune response after flu vaccination compared to younger, healthier people.

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residents' rights month

Part 2: Residents’ Rights Month

October is Residents’ Rights Month, an annual event created by advocates to honor residents living in all long-term care facilities. This is an important time for family members and residents to be reminded of the rights anyone living in a nursing home has, protected by the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law. In a previous blog post, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti reviewed the first half of these rights to ensure readers understand residents must be treated with the same rights as those individuals residing in the larger community. Those rights found in a blog post titled Part 1: Residents’ Rights Month, include the 1) right to be fully informed, 2) right to complain, 3) right to participate in one’s own care, and 4) right to privacy and confidentiality. The remaining four residents’ rights outlined in the reform law include:

  1. Rights During Transfers and Discharges
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nursing home rights
Part 1: Residents’ Rights Month

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law is a federal law requiring nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident” in support of individual dignity and self-determination. Unfortunately, the law is often violated without repercussion because most seniors (and their family members) are not aware of the legal protections that support an individuals’ rights when residing in a nursing home facility. The month of October has been recognized as a time to address these needs and protections. To show support, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti would like to review the first four residents’ legal rights outlined within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law in Part 1 of this Residents’ Rights Month blog series.

Four Nursing Home Rights You Need to Know

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elderly financial exploitation

3 Times Nursing Home Staff Stole and Were Caught

It feels as though nursing home staff seem to be caught stealing from vulnerable and sick residents and their facilities more often. Brought on by the nation’s opioid epidemic, staff steal medication and patient drugs most often, but theft can also be in the form of residents’ possessions or finances, and when executives swindle millions from the company and spend it on personal items or other investments. Here is a special review of three times Illinois nursing home staff stole, they were caught, and justice was served.

  1. Drug Theft
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nursing home neglect

Skilled Care Falls Short While Nursing Home Costs Continue to Rise

While there has been a general slowing of individuals dependent on nursing home care from nearly 86 percent in 2012 to less than 82 percent in 2017, as life expectancy continues to increase in the U.S. and seniors account for a higher proportion of the population, demand for the services provided by nursing facilities will increase and no doubtingly, costs will follow suit. But supported and efficient services have failed to align and it’s our nation’s most vulnerable people and their families, as well as care staff, who pay the real price. So, who is to blame?

Third-party payors and private entities who haphazardly increase the costs of healthcare services without providing quality care of professional and skilled nurses and staff look guilty. Employing staff and pushing up labor costs only leads to widespread budget increases and less fattening of private facility pockets, but shortages can ironically do the same. Meanwhile, nursing home administrators blame behind the market reimbursement rates of patients on ‘traditional” Fee-for-Service (FFS) Medicare patients to Medicare Advantage (MA) patients to cause the industry to suffer and negatively profit, demanding them to raise general daily costs to residents and families or cut short in areas such as infrastructure and staffing quality workers.

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skilled care

Recognizing When Residents May Require Skilled Care vs. Nursing Home Support

When a family is seeking support and viable care options for an elderly loved one, the first step to choosing the right place may be attempting to understand the types of support the long-term care industry offers. Skilled nursing facility (SNF) and a nursing home are terms widely used to describe a residential facility that provides on-site 24-hour care, but the type of care and support may differ depending on staff, managed medical standards, and a confusing overlap of services. In fact, some nursing homes may offer skilled nursing care in a particular wing of the facility but not to every resident, including your loved one. In addition, nursing homes and SNFs may be regulated and certified differently at each facility and the level of staff certification may vary leaving questionable concerns for those in charge of placing a loved one into the hands of a long-term care facility of any type.

Skilled Nursing Facilities Provide Additional Services and Medical Staff

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nursing home visitors

Approved Visitors Must Be Provided Immediate Access to Nursing Home Residents

In 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released revised nursing facility regulations that supports the rights of residents to “receive visitors of their choosing at the time of their choosing and require the facility to provide immediate access to the resident in accordance with the regulations.” These rights include access to spouses and domestic partners, including those of the same-sex.

But even with rules and regulations, there have been too many accounts of residents being told, “visiting hours are over,” “you can call your daughter tomorrow,” or “let’s wait to have a visitor for when you are feeling better,” by nursing home staff. When in reality, nursing homes should seek to allow residents the freedom to make their own decisions and help them see the choice for visitors out. Living in a nursing home does not take away a senior citizen’s rights to make choices about their own life, especially when requesting to see a family member or friend or accepting their visits.

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nursing home violations

New Report Shows Serious Care Violations and Doubled Fines For 56 Illinois Nursing Homes

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. The most recent report, dating January 2018 thru March 2018, highlights more than 50 Illinois facilities determined to be lacking in patient care abilities related to the Nursing Home Care Act, a statute that provides nursing home residents and their families with the assurance that proper and safe care will be received.

Some violations heightened with a serious high-risk designation, and all homes received fines of no less than $1,000 while others reached more than $50,000 fines for issues that caused actual harm or immediate jeopardy to residents. Several problems were related to infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and abuse and neglect of patients caused by lack of support or inexperienced, overburdened staff. These violations may result in an official recommendation for decertification to the Department of Healthcare and Family Service, or the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Facilities included in this report are:

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finding the right nursing home care

Online Reviews Provide Easy-to-Read Critiques of Nursing Home Care but Families Must Research and Visit Facilities Prior to Choosing a Facility

On any given day, hundreds of Illinois families are helping choose support for their loved ones from the nearly 1,200 long-term care facilities in the state. While some individuals are in the need of a nursing home for just a few days to rehabilitate from a hospital stay or injury, many will live out their remaining years requiring constant long-term care. With national reviews indicating an abuse rate of 44 percent and a neglect rate of 95 percent of these residents, selecting a nursing home for yourself or a family member must include an in-depth site visit, preferably more than one at different times, and as much time possible discussing and reviewing credible sources. Additionally, as online opportunities to review nursing home care have emerged more frequently, the additional readings of anecdotal stories and experiences shared by residents and their family members, and staff via websites and social platforms can help provide a full scope of the pros and cons of each facility – within reason.

How the Federal Government’s ‘Nursing Home Compare’ Tool Evaluates Care Standards

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nursing home evictions

Nearly 37,000 Medicaid Recipients Receive Discharge Notices in Louisiana

A chaotic and stressful situation is consuming Louisiana’s Medicaid program. The issue is targeting nursing homes and long-term care facilities as more than 35,000 recipients could lose their benefits and be forced to evict due to proposed state cuts and a lack of state funding.

Louisiana Department of Health Deputy Secretary Michelle Alletto said the agency has notified about 37,000 Medicaid recipients that they may face eviction or discharge if eligibility to receive the benefit ends on July 1. Many of these patients have dementia and memory loss diseases, and developmental disabilities which require consistent, routine care. The proposed cuts could also force nursing homes to close or create even more shortages of trained care staff and cuts to an already overburdened and underpaid workforce. This reality is the result of the Federal government’s February 2018 budget proposal aimed to implement cuts to Medicaid and subsidies in favor or cost savings and will force states officials to make hard choices that are sure to impact the delivery of Medicaid programs across the country.