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Helpful Publication: Illinois Long-Term Care Council Annual Report

We recently shared information on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s State of Long-Term Care in Illinois report. It offers the best summary of Illinois nursing home statistics that we have. While not without its issues, the report is a helpful way for those focused on these issues to get an idea of the “lay of land” in regards to most major nursing home related concerns.

Another publication that might be helpful comes from the Illinois Long-Term Care Council. The Council was created in 2003 to provide a forum for making recommendations on the state of long-term care in Illinois. In that way, it is a conduit for all those hoping to work within the system to influence various issues that affect nursing home residents and others similarly situated.

The Council issues an annual report that summarizes its work, mission, and recommendations for the future. As with the IDPH annual report, this document is a good jumping off point for those wanting to get information on the major issues affecting the industry in our state. The latest report from the Council available online is from 2010. You can download a copy of the full document here.

Summary of the Report
The report highlights one overarching problem that we have noted time and again. Tougher nursing home laws do not always translate into better care for residents. Those who are serious about actually making lives better must look to enforcement on top of simply passing new legislation. The report says correctly that, “nursing home laws and regulations have been strenghtened every few years since the 1960s, and yet there continues to be egregious instances of neglect and abuse.”
Toward that end the report makes clear that one of the main priorities is the appropriate funding and staffing of regulatory agencies so that the laws and regulations can actually be enforced. After all, the laws may as well have not been passed at all if they are rarely abided by.

The Council also argues that the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman program must be properly supported so that residents, their family, friends, and volunteers understand their role and ability to demand accountability. That includes training on the options for reporting instances of abuse and neglect to the Illinois Department of Public Health. As the somewhat bare reporting statistics highlighted in the latest IDPH report makes clear, we have a long way to go before most instances of mistreatment are fully reported. Accountability and improvement will be hard to come by without first getting the accurate scope of the problem out to a wider audience.

Toward that end, the Council urges a better, more efficient and streamlined complaint process that can originate directly with the residents and families themselves. It doesn’t take much creativity to understand how a complaint process that goes through the facility itself (or relies on self-reporting from the facility) is not going to be as effective as necessary. In addition, the Council reminded that this complaint process must come with an educated consumer base, that is supported by advocacy efforts which are properly funded.

Legal Help in Illinois
As always, the lawyers at our firm are proud to work with local families who have been affected in various ways by inadequate care at nursing homes throughout Chicago and the rest of Illinois. The civil law exists to provide redress to those harmed in these instances. Please take a moment to contact our office for advice on these matters. There is no obligation and nothing to lose from learning more.

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