Share Your COVID-19 Nursing Home Stories and Complaints with a Lawyer
Nearly half of the COVID-19-related fatalities in Illinois have occurred at long-term care facilities, nursing homes, or assisted living centers. These are homes to older adults, many with underlying medical conditions that put them at higher risk of COVID-19, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cognitive disabilities like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
These deaths are the tragically foreseeable consequences of years of neglect and abuse at nursing homes. Before this crisis began, the nationally renowned nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti were working to protect nursing home residents and employees from harm related to poor-performing facilities that continue to fail to meet quality of life care standards by choosing to:
- Understaff and underpay its workforce
- Fail to provide healthcare workers the tools to perform their jobs safely such as personal protection equipment, and the training and skills required to prevent the spread of infectious diseases
- Ignore hygiene and infectious disease guidelines
The coronavirus pandemic has only magnified these systemic breakdowns. And the mass horror of how many facilities continue to fail both residents and staff is unacceptable. Nursing home owners and administrators have put thousands of individuals under considerable risk of injury, sickness, and COVID-related deaths, especially in the greater Chicago-area, where cases are expected to double-if-not-triple in the coming months and continue to worsen if issues are not addressed.
Because of this dire trend and the outcry received from residents’ families and care workers, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti have launched more than 100 investigations regarding a nursing home’s failed response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Cook County and surrounding communities in Illinois.
Please view our list of COVID-19 nursing home investigations here.
Although facilities are required to report any infectious disease cases to their local health departments, many are not. Some residents and their family members remain unknowing about what is happening within their homes, leaving many unaware of outbreaks or their positive COVID-19 status. Our loved ones have the right to expect that the nursing home owners and corporations are taking the appropriate precautions to protect residents and staff from infectious diseases. Is this such an extraordinary ask?More Than Ever, Nursing Home Front Line Workers Must Speak Up
We understand that in many cases, it is the nursing home owners and administrators, not the essential care workers, who are to blame for these conditions. And those providing frontline care are often witnessing the more significant underlying problems which have led to an alarming number of nursing homes with trending rates of COVID-19.
To continue our work, we are asking anyone who has information about the outbreak of COVID-19 in an Illinois long-term care facility, to SPEAK UP for our most vulnerable citizens. This includes nursing home residents and their family members, and nursing home employees with whistleblower complaints and stories of distress and unsafe working environments.
Residents and frontline workers may face these coronavirus issues:
- Lack of personal protection equipment such as masks, gowns, gloves, respirators, shoe covers, shields and safety masks, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer
- Failure to actively screen all workers for fever and COVID-19 symptoms at the start of their shift
- Demand and overexertion due to reduced staffing levels
- Safe patient handling or transfers
- Disregard for COVID-19 testing of all residents and healthcare personnel per CDC recommendations (updated May 19, 2020)
- General lack of prevention and control of contagious diseases
- Hiring inexperienced workers and failing to train them
- Not following industry guidelines or the relaxing of laws such as “No Visitors”
- Failure to prevent transmission to others in the facility
- Glossing over COVID-19 risks when communicating to residents and being asked to lie to family members or inspectors
- Mismanagement of medications
- Wrongful evictions
- Ignoring resident reports of abuse and neglect
- Financial exploitation related to stimulus check funds and request for Medicare payments
If you or your coworkers are concerned about conditions at the care facility where you are employed, consulting with an experienced attorney can help you understand any legal options and provide you with the extra support needed. COVID-19 stories and complaints from certified nursing assistants (CNAs), nurses, food service or janitorial staff, respiratory or physical therapists, maintenance, or groundkeepers should be shared. These employees may feel helpless or afraid when noticing any wrongdoing or mistreatment that occurs out of their control. But, please do not fear.
Workers who choose to report are protected under the law and the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act from retaliation. Additionally, Whistleblower Protections Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act says employees may not be retaliated against for reporting potential hazards or illnesses (29 U.S.C. 660(c)).
We appreciate the courage of all of nursing home employees who have reached out to us and shared their stories. Families need you now more than ever to inform them and know you care. You must act now and be the voices of those left unheard. Also, if you have positive stories about the facility you work at, we invite you to share those experiences with us so others can learn and benefit.How Can a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Help During COVID-19?
Time is of the essence. According to Illinois Department of Public Health, about one in every seven cases of COVID-19 can be traced to skilled nursing facilities, proving that nursing homes weren’t doing enough to prevent the spread of infectious diseases before the pandemic and still aren’t.
At Levin & Perconti, we have the experience and resources to investigate claims and are currently standing up to violators who choose not to protect residents and staff from harm caused by the novel coronavirus.
If you are considering a legal case against an Illinois nursing home related to COVID-19 or want to share your story to help others, please contact us for a free consultation at 877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872. All calls and discussions with our attorneys are confidential.