Illinois has unfortunately ranked toward the very bottom when it comes to quality of care at nursing homes and long-term care facilities in rankings by an independent watchdog organization. Of the states just below us, Texas ranks at the very bottom, and recent news of another awful case of abuse at a nursing home there makes one wonder if there will be enough timely and substantial improvement. Earlier this month, a nursing home employee was arrested on charges of physically abusing an elderly resident. That resident also happens to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. This awful event underscores the importance of monitoring nursing homes and being careful to hire and monitor nursing home staffers to ensure that they do not neglect patients, and that they do not abuse them in any way.
The case also underscores how vulnerable patients can be in large part because so many tend to be elderly (the victim here is 77 years old while the accused abuser is 51 years old). Many states not only have your typical criminal laws against abuse, but also specifically employ laws that deal harshly with those who would abuse or take advantage of an elderly person. This case further underscores how vulnerable patients with mental infirmities, like dementia and Alzheimer’s, can be since those infirmities leave them confused and forgetful, and they may not comprehend what is happening to them, or may not be able to adequately tell someone because of problems communicating coherently.