The COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic has raged across the globe for months. It has infected more than 1.8 million people and killed more than 106,000 in the United States.
All public health disasters have the worst impact on the most vulnerable members of society- the poor, the socially oppressed, and the elderly. These are the sections of society that are the least capable of protecting themselves.
Nursing homes are particularly vulnerable because they have an aging population with a number of underlying conditions housed in very close quarters. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “nursing home populations are at high risk of being affected by respiratory pathogens like COVID-19 and other pathogens, including multidrug-resistant organisms.”
Illinois Nursing Homes in Trouble
Illinois has been hit hard in the pandemic, with more than 123,000 infected, resulting in more than 5,600 deaths. And, according to US News and World Reports, Illinois has the fifth largest number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes among all states.
The total number of nursing home residents and staff who died due to coronavirus is now more than 2,700. The number of cases has also increased by 15 percent from a week before, with more than 17,000 infections in nursing homes.
There are more than 500 facilities over 41 counties across Illinois that have reported COVID-19 related issues.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has a detailed county-wise breakdown of nursing homes affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including number of deaths.
Data shows that the most affected homes in Illinois are in the Chicago-area. As of last week, the nursing homes hurt the most by the COVID-19 crisis are:
- Meadowbrook Manor, Bolingbrook: 40 deaths
- Villa at Windsor Park: 37 deaths
- Niles Nursing and Rehab Center: 33 deaths
- Woodbridge Nursing Pavilion: 33 deaths
- Peterson Park Health Care: 31 deaths
- Norridge Gardens: 30 deaths
The centers with the greatest number of infections include:
- Elisabeth Ludeman Developmental Center, Forest Park: 316
- City View Multi-Care Center: 243
- Woodbridge Nursing Pavilion: 218
- Symphony at Midway: 211
- Peterson Park Health Care: 202
Situation Made Worse By Poor Management
The situation has been worsened by poor management and handling of the crisis by nursing homes.
In April there were reports that the workers at Bria at Forest Edge, a South Side facility, were not even informed that two staff deaths were due to COVID-19.
City View Multi-Care Center in Cicero has a temporary restraining order against it because it was cited multiple times for failing to take measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Workers in the nursing home were even reported to not be wearing personal protective equipment.
Testing for nursing homes has also been inadequate, with the state only reaching a fifth of all nursing homes. Illinois governor J.B Pritzker has now shifted the responsibility of testing to the nursing homes.
This is another cause for concern. Negligence in nursing homes has been a persistent and growing problem. It’s even more worrying as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads through nursing homes at a faster rate than it does through the general community.
Nursing Home Negligence is Common
Nursing homes have grown to become an integral part of the elder care system in the U.S. In 2019, 1.4 to 1.5 million Americans lived in nursing homes. As of 2016, the U.S had 15,600 nursing homes. That translates to around 1.7 million beds—a lot of people who are under the care of nursing home staff.
Even though many families look to nursing homes to help take care of elderly loved ones, negligence and abuse are widespread in these homes.
Common problems seen in nursing homes include:
- Emotional abuse
- Medication errors
- Sexual abuse
Elderly people who are abused have a 300% higher risk of death than those who are not. This makes it even more important to protect our elderly populations, especially during a public health crisis.
Pintas & Mullins deals with hundreds of cases of nursing home neglect and abuse. The statistics suggest that a solution or better alternative is the need of the hour.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 794-0444
What You Can Do
For those with loved ones in nursing homes, this is a stressful time. Most nursing homes have stopped in-person visits, and the isolation also creates mental health challenges.
You can make sure that you are connected with family via phone or video chat. You can also contact the nursing home to check if they have a contingency plan to deal with coronavirus.
The nursing home owes a great responsibility toward its patients and families, especially during a public health crisis such as this one. You can ensure that it’s following guidelines set out by the CDC, such as actively screening anyone entering the facility, cancelling all group activities, testing residents regularly for COVID-19 symptoms, and notifying state or local health departments about positive cases.
It’s important to stay hopeful and help your loved ones through the crisis.
Pintas & Mullins Can Help
We need to do our best to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect fragile, elderly populations which are at high risk for infection by the deadly virus.
Know that our firm is here for you 24/7, and we’re honored to continue serving you as always during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have offered guidance and legal representation to many nursing home clients, and can answer all your questions. Reach out to us at (800) 934-6555.