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Back to the Basics – How Safe Are Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes are supposed to be safe places where our elderly loved ones receive the care they need as they get older. Most people consider nursing homes as more secure than having loved ones live on their own or with relatives. Yet, this is not always the case. Nursing home neglect and abuse are a constant concern, as reports continue to rise, and many incidents go unreported.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is legislation provides guidelines that help to ensure that nursing homes provide proper care. The Illinois Department of Public Health, IDPH, is, in part, responsible for making sure that nursing homes comply with all of the state and local laws.

Inspections and Violations

IDPH conducts approximately 1,300 inspections yearly of Illinois nursing homes. The inspections are called surveys, and evaluate the adequacy of the equipment, staff, policies, procedures, and finances of the facilities. Additionally, the department responds to about 6,000 complaints every year. The IDPH issues quarterly reports of nursing home violations. These reports provide a list of any violations noted during the reporting period, listed by specific location. If a nursing home receives a violation they must take steps to fix the problem, and must also pay an associated fine.

Types of Violations

Nursing home violations range from minor to significant problems requiring immediate attention. The types of violations include:

Type AA – The most severe of the violations, it involves the near-death of a resident.
Type A – An incident that would cause physical or mental harm to a resident.
Type B – An incident that is likely to cause physical or mental harm to a resident.
Type C – An incident that will not cause immediate harm to a resident, but will probably lead to harm in the future.

Some violations are classified as “high risk” and must be immediately resolved. Nursing homes are evaluated about once every six to 15 months.

Violation Corrections

When deficiencies are found, the nursing home is required to respond. They must submit a plan to fix all of the issues, along with a time-frame for completion. If the violations are of high risk, the IDPH may request that the nursing home take immediate action to resolve the problem. Nursing homes may appeal the findings and penalties. The findings will be reevaluated and the findings could be upheld or reversed, and fines may be reduced with a settlement.

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Unfortunately, nursing home neglect and abuse is all too common. When a problem does arise, it should be immediately reported. The safety and well-being of your loved one is at stake. It is essential to make sure that your relative gets medical attention if needed, and that steps are taken to ensure that the problem does not recur. If your loved one suffered a serious injury as the result of nursing home neglect, you may be entitled to compensation to pay for medical treatments, and pain and suffering. Call the compassionate legal team at Levin & Perconti for a consultation to discuss your situation.

See Related Posts:

Protection for Nursing Home Employees and Whistleblowers who Stand Up for the Elderly

Back to Basics: Laws About Nursing Home Resident’s Rights