CHICAGO, IL – Nearly 1.3 million residents live in nursing home facilities across the United States. Nursing homes should offer a safe place for your loved one who needs guided rehabilitation or a senior care facility their future residency. It’s normal to have questions and concerns about these facilities as a quarter of all residents will experience during their residency. The coronavirus pandemic has targeted the elderly nursing home population more than any other demographic.
When you begin to research, be sure to schedule a virtual tour of a facility. Ask to talk to the administrator and staff members and ask questions to learn about the nursing home’s staffing, training, environment, and infectious disease outbreaks.
Make sure to consider asking the following questions:
- Is the nursing home Medicare certified?
- Is the nursing home Medicaid certified?
- Are both the nursing home and current administrator licensed by my state?
- Is rehabilitation care offered?
- Does the nursing home offer specialized care, such as dementia?
- Is there an arbitration agreement requested to be signed?
- Will the nursing home create a care plan for my loved one?
- Will the nursing home provide in writing to me their polices and procedures, services, charges, and fees before I move my love one into the facility?
- Are you currently facing staffing challenges due to COVID-19?
- Do staff wear masks and seem equipped with person protection equipment to protect against COVID?
- How often is staff tested for COVID?
- What is your staff to resident ratio?
- Has there been a turnover in administration staff, such as the director of nurses, within the last year?
- How long do nurses and aides spend with residents each day?
- Do staff knock before entering a resident’s room?
- Does the nursing home offer training and continued education for all staff?
- How does the facility ensure they don’t hire staff members who have been found guilty of abuse, neglect, or mistreatment?
Safety, Infectious Disease & Care:
- How are residents and staff screened for fevers and respiratory diseases?
- What is your COVID outbreak history?
- What is your COVID testing plan and response strategy?
- Can residents still see their personal doctors?
- Does the nursing home’s inspection report show the quality of care problems or other deficiencies?
- Has the nursing home corrected all deficiencies?
- Can I see the most recent health and fire inspection report?
- Can the nursing home provide a special dietary need?
- Do residents have a choice of food items at each meal?
- Can residents eat when they want?
- Does staff help residents eat and drink at mealtimes, if needed?
- Can residents have personal belongings in their room?
- Does each resident have a storage space, such as a closet and drawers, in their room?
- Does each resident’s room have a window in it?
- Can a resident leave their room if showing signs of any illness? How do you minimize resident’s exposure to others who may be sick of tested positive for coronavirus?
- Do residents have access to the internet, personal phone, television, and computer?
Hallways, Stairs, Common Areas, & Bathrooms:
- What types of spaces do residents share?
- How often are common areas cleaned and disinfected?
- Are common areas, hallways, resident rooms, and doorways designed for wheelchair accessibility?
- Are handrails appropriately placed in hallways and bathrooms?
- What types of activities are offered to residents, including those who are unable to leave their rooms, allowed to participate in?
- Does the nursing home have outdoor areas for resident use?
- When does the nursing home allow visitors? Are visits outside?
- What disruptions has COVID-19 caused in group activities?
Use of Antipsychotic Drugs:
- What percentage of residents who are diagnosed with dementia are prescribed antipsychotic medication?
- Does the nursing home have specific policies and procedures related to the care of individuals with dementia?
- What is the current rate of antipsychotic medication use within the facility?
Both state and federal laws protect the right of residents in nursing homes; however, each year nearly 5 million elders fall victim to abuse and neglect. Often times, negligence occurs because of understaffing and insufficiently trained to care for residents in long-term settings. When facilities do not comply with safety standards and employ adequate staff, residents may suffer from malnutrition, bedsores, dehydration, fatal falls, medication errors, come into contact with an infectious disease, or fall victim to abuse.
Resources for Nursing Home Abuse
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced it is now easier for consumers to identify nursing homes and long-term facilities with instances of non-compliance related to abuse on their website. CMS is rolling out a warning icon strategy to highlight facilities that meet the following criteria:
- Facilities cited for abuse where residents were found to be harms on the most recent standard survey, or on a complaint survey within the past 12 months;
- Facilities cited for abuse where residents were found to be potentially harmed on the most standard survey or a complain survey within the past 12 months and on the previous standard survey or on a complain survey in the prior 12 months
The icon is designed a bright red “STOP” hand, which may negatively shift a provider’s overall federal quality rating, but the change is welcomed by elder abuse advocates after years of systematically being non-compliant with unexplained inconsistencies in quality measures. Consumers will now have access to more information about nursing facility’s history of abuse, neglect or exploitation citations when visiting the CMS’s Five-Star Quality Rating System through the Nursing Home Compare Website.
Contact Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys in Illinois
If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home in Illinois, contact the attorney’s of Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. Our attorney’s have extensive knowledge and resources in this area of law and offer a personalized service by working closely with clients throughout every step of the process. Call our office today for a free consultation at (312) 384-1920 or visit our website for more information.