In Chicago and the nation as a whole, cost-cutting in health care is a part of ongoing reform to the system. Cook County, for example, plans to close the long-term care unit at the Oak Forest Hospital. The 220 patients, including quadriplegics, gunshot wound victims, stroke survivors, and others, are being moved to nursing homes and away from their close-knit community. The patients are wary of living in nursing homes for fear that they will not be able to get the care they need or that they will not find companionship in the elderly. Plus, round-the-clock emergency care is on site and available within minutes at the long-term facility, but not so at most nursing homes. Nursing homes are a cheaper alternative for the state, but not equivalent to long-term care and assistance. Nursing home abuse and neglect is common, and nursing homes are already lack staff and have too many patients. In addition, non-naturalized immigrants might not be admitted to the state-run nursing homes.
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