Laws requiring that nursing homes ensure that their facility is safe and secure are only of any worth if those laws are enforced. It isn’t the act of passing a law that improves resident lives, it is the actual steps then taken by the facilities to comply that improve the well-being of the elderly resident.
That is why we applaud efforts like Operation Guardian in Illinois that conducts surprise investigations at Illinois nursing homes to check the facility’s compliance with state law. In that way, facilities are further pushed to ensure that proper requirements are met. However, with thousands of nursing homes in Illinois, it is impossible for the state sweep to check on even a fraction of the facilities in the state. That is why the eyes and ears of residents and their families are important parts of the enforcement process.
An article published in the Des Moines Register explains how our neighbor state to the north is grappling with the same issues. The author calls on that state to step up the enforcement of law to ensure that nursing home care is at the level reasonable society members deem necessary.
The enforcement call stems from the non-existent care provided to one local nursing home resident. The 89-year old victim entered a nursing home only to recover from a broken leg suffered in a car accident. She planned to go back to her home after recouping. However, she continued to suffer excruciating pain and her leg never healed.
One day a physical-therapy aide who visited the facility noted that her leg smelled like “rotting meat” and noticed blood seeping through her stocking. The victim was rushed to a local hospital. Doctors there discovered that the woman’s bandages hadn’t been changed in a month. Literally no care was provided. The woman’s leg had to be amputated, and she died a few months later.
Amazingly, the owner of the for-profit facility that failed to provide even a modicum of care believes that the nursing home shouldn’t have been held responsible. Instead, the owner claims that “rouge” nursing home inspectors are at fault for “flogging” nursing home workers.
Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti remain shocked by the treatment provided to some nursing home residents and the baffling defense made by negligent administrators. Passing laws that demand quality care is only the first step. All of us must work to ensure that the law is actually followed and violators are held responsible for their deadly conduct.
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