Illinois Nursing Homes May Be Unfit To Manage COVID-19

by Personal Injury Claims Blawg on April 18, 2020

With its lethal effects on the elderly and those with immune deficiencies, COVID-19 poses a special threat to nursing homes nationwide. Illinois nursing homes and temporary rehab clinics are now tasked with caring for the infected while also containing the coronavirus pandemic. This is no doubt a monumental task for any state. 

However, an analysis by The Chicago Tribune may concern families as to whether Illinois, a state already infamous for its inadequate elderly care, can manage the 80,000 living in nursing homes.

The Study

The Tribune, who released their findings on March 19, studied federal inspection data on infection control for facilities certified by Medicare and Medicare. They found that since 2016, 89 percent of Illinois homes — 642 of 732 — have been cited at least twice for violating infection control regulations. According to The Tribune, Illinois is the third-worst state in the nation for nursing home infection. 

In the Chicago area specifically, The Tribune found 77 facilities with three or more citations. Nine of those had more than five citations. The lowest rated facility, Aperion Care Forest Park, had seven.

These citations are given if inspectors see the facilities fail to manage the basic hygiene and cleaning requirements for assisting the elderly, such as a failure to wear gloves, clean a mop bucket, or wash hands between patient visits. Now, with the COVID-19 death toll rising above 200 in Illinois, nursing homes must bolster their care to ensure their patients’ safety. 

How to Know if a Nursing Home is Properly Containing the Virus

On March 20, the Illinois Department of Public Health released its “COVID19 Control Measures for Long Term Care,” which outlined the procedures nursing homes should adopt in order to avoid an outbreak. Though this document is subject to change, it recommends all residents be screened every eight hours.

Once an infected patient is identified, the following measures should be addressed:

  • The patient’s vitals and pulse oximetry be checked every four hours
  • The patient be given a private room or a room with another symptomatic/positive patient
  • Consider that staff caring for positive or symptomatic patients do not care for negative or asymptomatic patients
  • Positive or symptomatic patients be given a surgical mask and encouraged to wear at all times

If your nursing home, or the nursing home of a loved one, does not adequately follow these isolation procedures, it could mean the staff is ill-equipped to maintain the outbreak. 

Illinois Nursing Home’s Struggling with COVID-19

Just as The Tribune’s research suggests, several nursing homes in Illinois have failed to manage their pandemic control. One nursing home in the west suburban Carol Stream, a village in DuPage County, has seen 51 confirmed cases. Seven of those residents have died from the virus.

At the Westchester Health and Rehabilitation Center, employee Terralyn Baugh said she had been feeling sick for several days before she got tested for coronavirus. She received a positive diagnosis, and as of April 1, at least two elderly patients had died from COVID-19. 

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

PI claims blogger at PIClaimsBlawg
Personal Injury Claims Blawg is a personal injury law blog, inviting contributions from practitioners, PI law firms and legal academics across the UK, US and beyond. The post above has been published because of the high value associated with the author's work. Contact us if you'd like to get published today.
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