Illinois gets failing grade for nursing home care

Illinois received a failing grade for nursing home care, and state officials are considering ways of solving this serious problem.

Many people entrust the care of their loved ones to nursing home facilities when their aging friends or family members are no longer able to live independently. According to a state-by-state review performed by an elder advocacy group in 2013, however, Illinois residents should be careful when choosing which nursing home to use. The study evaluated federal inspections, complaints and staffing report data from nursing homes around the country, according to CBS News. The results named Illinois as one of eleven states, including Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Missouri, that received a failing grade for nursing home care quality. These results, along with a state-wide surge of complaints involving nursing home abuse, neglect and wrongful death, have caused Illinois residents to think twice before putting their loved ones in a nursing home.

What is being done?

The Illinois Attorney General is creating legislation that would give nursing home residents and their families the option of installing a camera in their room to film daily occurrences, according to The Fiscal Times. Not only will this help to deter nursing home staff from acting out in an abusive way toward residents, but families will be able to see if any abuse has taken place.

Types of nursing home abuse

Nursing home abuse does not always involve physical force, such as pushing, shoving, hitting or shaking. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, there are several other types of elder endangerment. These include:

  • Emotional abuse occurs when a nursing home patient becomes hurt, anxious, depressed or stressed as a direct result of a nursing home worker's nonverbal or verbal actions, including threats, insults, humiliation or other types of harassment. Isolating seniors from their family members and other residents is considered emotional abuse as well.
  • Sexual abuse may involve any type of sexual contact with an elderly person who is unable to give appropriate consent or who does not understand what is going on. Signs of sexual abuse include bruising or bleeding around the genital area.
  • Neglect occurs when nursing home staff fails to properly care for a resident, and may result in the resident becoming malnourished, dehydrated or sick. The resident may be living in filth, develop a medical condition or have bedsores from lack of care and attention.

Drug overdoses, failure to give medication and preventable accidents, such as slip-and-falls, are also considered forms of elder abuse.

Fighting the abuse

Every person has the right to be properly cared for and treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their age. If your loved one has been abused in a nursing home facility, it is crucial that you contact an established attorney who can help you explore your legal options. People who have inflicted abuse on elderly nursing home residents should be held accountable for their actions.

Keywords: nursing home, abuse, neglect