In many ways defending loved ones against negligent treatment at a long-term care facility begins with the decision about which facility to chose. There is a wide range of difference between each home, and it is never a good idea to assume that they all more or less provide the same level of care and commitment to resident safety. On top of quality indicators, issues like location to family and friends, amenities, availability of single rooms, and size should also be weighed before committing to a home.
Nothing replaces on-site visits to possible nursing homes and detailed questioning of caregivers, other residents, and family members of other residents (if possible). Also, there are various online resources that can help to understand some general quality and safety indicators. One that we often discuss is the “Nursing Home Compare” site run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Another helpful tool comes from the well-regarded publication U.S. News & World Report. The magazine publishes an annual report which provides nursing homes ranking for long-term facilities in every state across the country, including Illinois. You can find the list HERE.
The site allows searches when looking at the entire state of Illinois, by specific metro regions (like Chicago), or by individual zip codes. The Illinois site notes that the highest ranked facilities all received “5 star” rating from CMS officials. About 20% of homes in the state reached this benchmark, while the majority of homes (eight in ten) were lower.
Another helpful feature is that searches can be refined. For example, you can filter the ranking by those that accept Medicaid patients or those that are within a certain number of miles of a specific location. In addition, you can try to find individual facilities. In that way, if there are a few specific homes that you are considering, you can look here to see if any red flags are raised.
The U.S News list website also includes a few other resources. One of those is a short helpful video that runs down different questions that should be asked when going through the nursing home selection process. It is worthwhile to take a few minutes to review this information as part of your search.
Make Prudent Choices
At the end of the day, while it is critical not to take the decision lightly, there is nothing that one can do to know with 100% certainty that their loved one will thrive in the home. That is why it is important to continually evaluate whether your relative is receiving quality care throughout their stay. Being vigilant about signs of mistreatment and neglect are invaluable to catching problems early on–before they cause real harm.
Sadly, all it takes is a single fall, oversight, or lack of attention for a senior to suffer serious harm or even death. If this happens to your family, please get in touch with our elder neglect lawyers to see how we can help. Our team of attorneys have worked on nursing home neglect matters in Chicago and throughout Illinois for decades. We would love to put our experience to work for you to ensure full accountability.
See Other Blog Posts:
Illinois Nursing Home Violator’s List