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Advocates Call for Improvement in State Nursing Home Care

Through the years our Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers have watched as state and federal lawmakers’ interest in preventing Illinois nursing home abuse has waxed and waned. While policymakers have not always prioritized actions that encourage the best nursing home care, there are usually always some advocates who work hard year after year fighting for the rights of our vulnerable senior community members.

While it is incumbent upon individual friends and family members of these residents to provide close watch to ensure proper care, state and federal lawmakers also play a vital role in keeping these residents safe. Unfortunately, many of the largest nursing home companies will only take action to improve standards when they are forced to do so by changing legal standards. Without those altered requirements, care at the worst facilities often remains unchanged. That is why it is important for advocates across the country to keep pressure on policymakers so that they do not forget they role they play in helping nursing home residents maintain an adequate standard of living.

For example, Kentucky News reported this week on how advocates in that state are urging its governor to enact new legislation which seeking to prevent what they consider systematic nursing home neglect. The founder of a large nursing home reform group is calling on the state’s General Assembly to be called into emergency session to enact legislation that would establish minimum staff-to-resident ratios. The advocate is urging the requirements to be enacted immediately and to apply to all long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and personal care facilities.

The call for special legislation was spurred by the tragic death o a 32-year-old resident of a personal care home. The man disappeared from the home and was found dead a month later. The man had a brain injury and was in need of special care. The facility where he lived was supposed to help those who did not need as much care as that provided in a regular nursing home.

Those looking into the tragic situation uncovered alarming information about the care provided at the facility. For example, the victim’s sister explained that when she visited the home immediately after her brother’s disappearance, there was only one staff member overseeing at least twenty four mentally ill residents. Following that revelation, one lawmaker that represents the area explained that he will likely file legislation to address the staff-to-resident ratios. As it now stands nursing homes have no requirement regarding the staff to resident ratio-leading many homes to provide the bare minimum oversight in order to cut costs.

State lawmakers must never forget the role that they play in ensuring the most vulnerable community members among us-including the elderly and mentally disabled-are provided a basic standard of care. The Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys at our firm are well aware of the countless cases where that standard is not met. Hopefully, we will one day reach a point where inadequate care is a thing of the past. Until that day comes we encourage friends and family members of vulnerable residents to keep a close eye on their treatment.

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