SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — On Friday, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) released a 50-page independent report investigating a COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans home in the fall of 2020.
The comprehensive report came at the request of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and it illustrates everything from the timeline of events to regulations and protocols at the home and recommendations for progress.
“There is nothing more critical to our department’s mission than ensuring the heroes in our homes are safe and receive the quality care they deserve,” said Acting IDVA Director Terry Prince.
“As the acting director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and as a Navy Veteran of more than 30 years, my heart breaks for the families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 in our Veterans’ Homes. In my prior role, I led the Ohio Veterans’ Homes and saw firsthand the enormous challenges this pandemic unleashed on the state facilities that care for our heroes. Lessons learned there and here in Illinois from this unprecedented crisis are already being implemented as we work to make IDVA the department that our veterans deserve. Let me be clear, we will seize any and every opportunity to better ensure the safety of veterans in our care and every single corrective action outlined in this report will be implemented with urgency.”
As a result of the report, IDVA representatives said the agency is implementing corrective actions and has already taken steps to meet many of the recommendations prior to receiving the report on Monday.
A list of corrective actions include:
- Create centralized policies and develop outbreak drills and stress tests
- Educate staff on the importance of quality infection control for any infection
- Integrate the standards for long-term care facilities, at least in part, into the Veterans’ Home Code
- Develop an infection control task force or committee within the Home
- Establish and clearly communicate thresholds for when IDPH visits the Home
- Provide a suitable independent outlet for escalating internal complaints
- Create temporary positions or consultancies to ensure essential positions do not remain unfilled
- Require one Veterans Advisory Council member to be appointed by IDPH
- Adopt the recommendations of the audit and succeeding interagency memo as soon as possible
Read the full report below.