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Government-Run Illinois Nursing Home To Be Privatized

The Chicago Tribune filed a detailed report this weekend about the likely move by the Lake County Board to privatize the Winchester House. Local officials explained that the home is too expensive to operate, claiming that the $3.5 million tax levy specifically set aside for the home is no longer sufficient. Many residents are wondering what the change will mean for the care that they receive.

One resident shared her concerns, explaining “We’ve had the same nurses and (certified nursing assistants). You feel comfortable with them, and you feel safe with them. Some of us have limited movement. They have to move us with a lift. If there are new staffers and they don’t know how to put a sling on right, it might hurt or they might drop us. There’s a lot of concerns about privatization. It affects every facet of your life.”

Research indicates that the resident is right to be concerned. Comparative studies have revealed that care is often inferior at privately run homes. A national study found that the amount of regulatory violations usually rise following a switch from a government run home to a privately held one. The reason is usually that private companies usually downsize and take steps to slash costs. This leads to increased nursing home neglect, and residents suffer as a result.

The researcher noted that the problem was the profit-motive of the private home. She explained, “It’s different priorities. There are healthier, wealthier clients in nonprofits. For-profit companies have residents that are quite poor, but they don’t have the care-oriented mission.”

An Illinois nursing home lawyer understands the vulnerability of all those residents of area nursing homes. Their day to day lives are dictated by the care workers around them. Employee turnover and possible downsizing may have significant impacts on the well-being of area residents. It is vital that the organizational changes not be detrimental to the health and safety of those who live in the Winchester House.

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