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Crack Down Needed on Assisted Living Facilities

The Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys at our firm know that there are thousands and thousands of long-term care facilities across the country, and far too many of them tolerate low standards of care. With the overall population of the country aging and baby boomers beginning to retire, the need for additional facilities will undoubtedly boom. At this crucial juncture it is more important than ever to raise standards and remind those working in these areas of the requirement that proper caregiving standards be met. Without improvement, there is serious worry that the problem of nursing homes abuse may actually increase in the future.

As the Bellingham Herald reported this weekend, advocates in some states are calling for regulators to crack down on inadequate assisted living facilities to ensure that the problem does not get any worse. For example, a recent report by one state Senate called for widespread changes to the way that assisted living facilities are regulated, inspected, and evaluated. As one lawmaker succinctly explained, “the rotten apples need to be shut down, and we’re not doing it.” These remarks come after many observers have criticized lawmakers for allowing the worst facilities in the state to stay open, even those with dangerous conditions and a track record of inadequate care.

As was the case in our state following journalistic investigations into Illinois nursing home abuse, this latest state Senate resolution came amid investigatory reports which uncovered dozens of cases of abuse and neglect at these homes which were then allowed to continue to operate. One of the first steps that the group wants enacted are changes to the ways that these facilities are punished following incidents of neglect. Specifically, the lawmaking body is recommending that facilities lose the ability to “bargain down” their punishments after inspectors cite them for abuses that lead to serious injuries or death. In addition, recommendations have been made to impose more mandatory severe fines, ban new admissions to the worst facilities, and more quickly suspend the license of those facilities which are find to place resident health, safety, and welfare in jeopardy.

Overall, those who looked into the state’s assisted living oversight process found that there was a particularly high rate of problems at those facilities which cater to residents with chronic mental illness. In addition, wandering is a much more prevalent problem than most at first suspected. Investigators discovered that a large percentage of residents with severe forms of dementia-like Alzheimer’s-were at high risk of suffering injury because of poor supervision and safety protocols.

Our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers are proud to play a role in ensuring that the worst nursing homes are held accountable for the conduct of their actions. Inadequate treatment of vulnerable seniors and mentally disabled residents in our state cannot be tolerated. Please do not sit by in silence as these individuals suffer day in and day out. If someone you know has been harmed by inadequate treatment, please consider contacting our office and learning about how we can help your family receive redress and hold the offending facility accountable.

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