Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has put many things on hold, not everything can wait, like investigations into reports and complaints of nursing home abuse and neglect. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has announced that they are performing a review of the Bureau of Long-Term Care.
Illinois has suffered nearly 8,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Over 4,000 of those deaths occurred in long-term care facilities, as they are part of the most vulnerable population. Nursing homes already had problems with containing infections and illnesses before the pandemic, but their short-comings proved fatal when COVID-19 started spreading.
While the Illinois Bureau of Long-Term Care continued to review facilities for virus control efforts in 727 facilities, they ceased their investigations into reports of abuse and neglect from March 15 through June 30 of this year. During that time, there were nearly 300 allegations of abuse and neglect that needed to be investigated, and only 17 were confirmed.
IDPH guidelines require serious allegations of abuse and neglect in nursing homes to be investigated within 24 hours, and allegations that are less serious or less threatening to health and safety need to be investigated within seven days. These complaints weren’t investigated in person even though an investigator at a facility would likely be within the guidelines of who can visit a long-term care facility during the pandemic.
The IDHP found out that most allegations of abuse and neglect from that time period were either incorrectly classified or not investigated and pushed for all allegations from that time to be investigated immediately regardless of their classification. These investigations were completed through on-site visits, interviews, documentation, and confirming with law enforcement for some instances.
IDHP Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a press release, “Our top priority as a regulator of long-term care facilities in Illinois is ensuring vulnerable Illinoisans are kept safe by those responsible for their care.” Investigating and reviewing the Bureau of Long-Term Care to see if they took the appropriate steps or what can be improved about their process during the pandemic will help ensure that nursing home residents are kept safe and their complaints are investigated promptly and seriously.
Contact Thomas Law Offices
If your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse or neglect during the pandemic, then they might be interested in taking legal action against their long-term care facility. We at Thomas Law Offices can represent your loved one and ensure that their facility is fully investigated and held accountable for their actions. Contact us today so we can get started on your claim.