Articles Tagged with understaffing

understaffing in nursing homes

New Study Highlights Ongoing Issues with High Staff Turnover as Major Contributor to COVID Nursing Home Deaths

As almost all U.S. nursing homes are working to vaccinate residents and staff, ongoing issues impacting the care residents require are proving to be the cause behind some of the most horrendous coronavirus neglect cases and disastrous infectious disease outbreaks in history. Authors of a new study published in Health Affairs on Mar. 1 highlight the persistent problems caused by an unstable long-term care workforce as one of the significant underlying threats that contributed to the staggering death tolls of nursing home residents start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At least 172,000 deaths from the virus had been reported among either residents or employees of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities by late February. In Illinois, the number of nursing home deaths as of Mar. 5 was 9,894.

As one of the nation’s leading nursing home abuse and neglect law firms, our attorneys found the study’s comprehensive findings were both devastating, but unfortunately, not shocking.

end of infinity health care strike

Chicago-Area Nursing Home Workers Ask For New Contract and Agree To ‘Tentatively’ End Strike

Much like hospital staff, Illinois nursing home employees have been working under complicated circumstances as the coronavirus continues to spread. So, it comes with no surprise that after requests for a safer workplace had stalled since June, an estimated 700 care workers from Infinity Healthcare Management walked off the job in late November, prompting a 12-day strike. The employees, who have been facing extreme workplace challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the greater Chicago-area, say they deserve significant wage increases equal to other nursing homes. The workers asked for a $2 an hour bump in pay and COVID hazard pay for all employees working at a facility with positive residents without attendance requirements, and also a guarantee for tools and resources such as personal protection equipment (PPE).

The nursing home workers and SEIU Healthcare Illinois union leaders announced on Friday, December 4th, that they had reached a possible agreement with Infinity leaders. The new ‘tentative’ agreement, according to SEIU, calls for a new three-year contract which includes:

southern illinois nursing homes covid-19

Nursing Home Outbreak at Stearns Facility Points to Sick Care Workers

An Illinois nursing home in Madison County is under investigation related to a COVID-19 outbreak that has killed 12 people and infected more than 100. Stearns Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is located at 2900 Stearns Avenue in Granite City. The 109-bed home operates as a lower quality, One-Star Medicare Certified, Medicaid Approved skilled nursing center.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, an investigation led by the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) revealed that the nursing home allowed employees to continue working despite testing positive for COVID-19. A facility director cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that address mitigating staff shortages to justify the shortcoming.

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:

nursing home staff ignoring dementia symptoms

Identifying Dementia Warning Signs in Nursing Home Residents

Dementia denial from caregivers is real and dangerous. And unfortunately, many nursing home owners find it easier to have staff ignore the warning signs of declining cognitive abilities rather than provide additional support. Dementia diagnoses can also be missed when overworked, and poorly resourced care teams are not trained to evaluate struggling residents who require extra supervision and management of their daily activities, medications, and financial needs. Eventually, these residents need to move to a 24-hour assisted specialized environment to keep them safe, especially as their disease progresses into later stages. Family members and friends are typically the first to request help after noticing a loved one’s behavioral changes or one or more of the concerning events listed below.

#1. Early Stage Memory Loss

nursing home understaffing dire

The Chronic Problems Related to Understaffed Nursing Homes

Deliberate understaffing is a common practice in nursing homes across the U.S., and especially here in Illinois, where nearly 70% of all long-term care networks are for-profit owned. When facilities are privately owned and operated, owners become more concerned about profits than having the right amount of staff available to provide quality patient care. According to a 2018-2019 report prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services, an incredible 90% of U.S. facilities are understaffed. The findings were documented by evidence through payroll records that showed nursing homes were underreporting staffing challenges.

Worker shortages contribute to nursing home struggles that sometimes lead to preventable hospitalizations, injuries, or deaths. Risky cost-cutting measures and unethical practices are creating a ripple of adverse effects that nursing home residents ultimately pay for.

inspection for nursing homes

How To Read a Nursing Home Inspection Survey To Identify Abuse or Neglect

All nursing home providers participating in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) program must meet Federal reporting requirements as well as state laws as they relate to the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Homes must also remain in substantial compliance to remain in operation and be evaluated for care standards through annual surveys and inspections. It is expected that any recorded violation will then be addressed promptly and residents will no longer be at risk from those noted deficiencies.

Families can review a website published by CMS called Nursing Home Compare. Here, they can access quality of care information for every nursing home that participates in Medicare and Medicaid in Illinois. Nursing Home Compare provides an overall star rating based on three factors: health inspections, staffing levels, and quality measures, but also includes the results of recent health inspections.

calling 911 on covid-19

Nursing Home Staff and Residents With COVID-19 Are Dialing 911 For Help

Reports from WGLT NPR show a COVID-19 outbreak at Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center had staff and nursing home residents calling 911 on numerous occasions, requesting for urgent help and resident transfers. The home is located at 925 S. Main St. in Bloomington. Illinois Department of Health coronavirus tracking reports show the facility is home to McLean County’s most significant COVID-19 outbreak to date. And the irony? Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center struggled to provide quality care and adequate staffing even before the virus hit, according to recent government inspections.

Medicare surveyor reports on the Nursing Home Compare website and IDPH inspection records show:

nursing home negligence bed sores

A Common Sign of Nursing Home Neglect Is Bedsores

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nursing home neglect is the failure to provide care for an older adult. One of the earliest and common signs of nursing home neglect is bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers.

  • Bedsores are painful wounds caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin.

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.”

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