Placing an elderly loved one into a nursing home can be a very difficult decision for Illinois families to make. While the benefits of nursing homes may be plentiful, elder abuse and nursing home neglect are a common concern of which families should be aware. While some nursing homes are known for their excellent care and superb staff, residents in many homes in Illinois and across the country experience less than average, sometimes even criminal, care.
Nursing home abuse is real
A Zion family recently experienced the heartbreak of discovering that their loved one was being abused at the hands of her caregivers. The 87-year old woman suffered from Alzheimer’s and was unable to tell her family what was occurring. Her daughter was told by a nurse that the bruises around her mother’s eyes and back, along with a severely fractured jaw, were the result of an abscessed tooth. When the surgeon who cared for the elderly woman told the daughter that her mother’s injuries could not have been caused by an abscessed tooth, she notified the authorities, who began an investigation.
Combating the problem
Families for Better Care is a nonprofit organization that aims to prevent what that Zion family experienced from happening to anyone else. The elder advocacy group recently released their first comprehensive review of nursing home care on a state-by-state level, a review that they claim is the first of its kind. Using eight 2012 federal measures, including data on staffing, deficiencies, inspections and complaints, the review rated each state on an A to F scale. Illinois was one of 11 states that received a failing grade. Findings that contributed to the state’s failing grade include the following:
- Nursing homes in Illinois employed the fewest frontline caregivers out of all 50 states, providing residents with only slightly more than two hours of direct resident care each day.
- Over 96 percent of facilities were cited for deficiencies.
- One quarter of nursing homes were cited for severe deficiencies.
- Higher numbers of professional nursing staff did not mitigate deficiencies.
Out of the nation, the state ranked 42nd in overall quality of care.
While nine states were awarded an A in the review, nursing home neglect and abuse of patients are still national issues that need to be addressed. According to a National Center on Elder Abuse study, 44 percent of long-term care facility residents have been abused and 95 percent have been neglected or have witnessed a fellow resident become the victim of neglect. Individuals or family members of those who have been the victim of nursing home neglect in Libertyville should contact an attorney immediately to discuss their matter.