Articles Posted in Family Councils

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A recent article on a Santa Barbara man provides an excellent example for Illinois families with loved ones in nursing homes. The man’s wife is confined to a nursing home facility because her MS is advanced. Her husband has become her most important advocate and lifeline, maintaining constant contact with the nursing home facility, providing oversight of the staff’s care, and often butting heads with the nursing home’s management to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect.

This story highlights how difficult family roles become when a loved one requires constant care. In this case, the man’s role changed quickly from being his wife’s primary advocate to assisting with her daily care, to taking on the nursing home management to fight for his wife’s rights to be free from nursing home abuse and neglect. Families should remember that they are not alone: Illinois has a nursing home ombudsmen program designed to help advocate for nursing home residents. Nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers can often achieve results that families may not be able to, especially when their loved one has suffered nursing home abuse and neglect.

For the complete story, click here.

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In Ohio, sheriffs are required to notify neighbors when sexual predators live near by and enforce laws prohibiting sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school. Nursing home residents are not exempt from these laws, but because the intent of the laws is to protect children and because elder abuse is an overlooked crisis in America, nursing home residents are forced, unknowingly, to live in homes shared with sex offenders and other criminals. With nursing home abuse and neglect being an important problem we face today, it is important to make sure loved ones are safe, protected and cared for- not at danger of sexual assault and misconduct. The Ohio state legislature is debating a bill that would require nursing homes to disclose the presence of sexual offenders to new or prospective patients. In one instance, a family placed an 18-year-old mentally retarded woman in a long term care facility but was unaware of the presence of sexual predators. Eventually, the home’s failure to supervise residents convicted of sexual offenses allowed the woman to be raped by a sexual predator previously convicted of raping three women. It is going to be important, in the face of a growing elder population, to raise awareness of the many hazards of nursing home care.

Contacting elder advocates like ombudsmen and elder law attorneys can help send nursing homes the message that we are paying attention. They can not get away with underfunding homes, allowing for abuse and neglect, while the owners are pocketing excess cash. Contacting state agencies, advocates and elder law attorneys is the first step toward deterring nursing homes from continuing in their careless practices.
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It is important for families of nursing home residents to be aware of an important issue: signing nursing home agreements can wind up ultimately costing you large sums of money. The Elder Law Minute brings to discussion the fact that unfortunately, many nursing home admittances occur after a rushed discharge from a hospital, resulting in family members being forced to hurriedly sign mounds of paperwork. In some instances, family members signing papers as the “responsible party” guarantees that the resident’s fees must be paid in full- if not from the resident, then from the responsible party. In the Nursing Home Care Act, a nursing home that participates in the Medicare or Medicaid program must not require a third party to guarantee payment. This is why it is important to make sure that paperwork is reviewed by an elder law attorney.

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A warm welcome to Alison Hirschel as president of the NCCNHR. The NCCNHR focuses on such issues as nursing home abuse and neglect, adequate staffing in nursing home, working conditions of long-term care staff, resident’s rights, family support, development and support for the long-term care ombudsman program, and more. This organization has achieved great success and continues further in its work toward much needed nursing home reform.

Click here to find out more about the NCCNHR

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Surrogate Guardian Services (SGS) is a not-for-profit organization committed to maximizing independence for disabled individuals in the least restrictive environment possible. SGS educates the public and professionals on guardianship and alternatives to guardianship, under the belief that guardianship should only be used when all other life care options are exhausted.

SGS is comprised of nurses, social workers, attorneys, elder care specialists, and CPAs who counsel medical professionals, attorneys, elder care specialists, individuals, and their families on options for the disabled, including guardianship.

Visit the SGS website to learn more information about available services.

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On May 5, the Society for the Preservation of Human Dignity (PHD) held its “Spirit of Life Gala”. PHD is an organization founded on the philosophy that human life is sacred. It strives to preserve the dignity and rights of their clients as individuals, to give them opportunities for growth, and renew hope for the future. The center for pregnancy help and education offers counseling, education, and integrated support services to meet the unique practical and emotional needs of each individual. The gala raised awareness and funds through a live auction, silent auction, and generous donations. Notably, Steven M. Levin and John J. Perconti of Levin & Perconti contributed $10,000 to the Marion Stocker Sponsorship.

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This week Illinois Citizens for Better Care (ICBC) launched their summer Family Matters newsletter. Family Matters is a newsletter and project dedicated to the development of family councils in Illinois nursing homes.

Family councils are developed so that families can organize and become involved with their loved ones’ long term elder care and advocate on behalf of their family members.

To read the newsletter.

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The Illinois Citizens for Better Care (ICBC) has developed an instructive guide on how and why to develop a family council in your nursing home. Topics of interest include:

• Community resources • The advantages of a family council • Steps to an effective family council • Organization, membership and action

• Planning and taking action • Keys to success

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The Illinois Citizens for Better Care (ICBC) has recently received a grant from the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR) to help launch a year-long project to educate family members on how to start family councils in their homes in order to advocate for their loved ones and fight nursing home abuse and neglect.

See the ICBC newsletter for details:

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A family council is a group of family members with loved ones in nursing homes. The group is organized to empower and support residents and family members with loved ones in nursing homes, and to advocate for quality care in nursing homes. Ask your home administrator or local ombudsman if your home already has a family council.

For information on organizing a family council in your loved one’s home:
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