Illinois Receive Failing Grade in New “Nursing Home Report Card”

A nationwide nursing home resident advocacy group, “Families for Better Care,” recently released a comprehensive “Nursing Home Report Card.” The study culls 2013 data in at least eight different criteria to grade each individual state on the quality of nursing home care provided. The grade is an easy-to-understand gauge of the current state of long-term care in each region.

So how did Illinois stack up in this effort? Not good. Nursing home caregivers in Illinois received the lowest grade possible, an F. Overall, the state was in the bottom ten nationwide. Those of us who work on IL nursing home neglect cases fully appreciate the scope of mistreatment faced by so many seniors. But it is still discouraging to see even more confirmation of the inadequate services provided to some of our most vulnerable community members.

Poor Illinois Nursing Home Care
The state’s failing grade in this particular report care is attributable to a range of factors. Perhaps most notably, Illinois has a horrific record for ensuring adequate frontline staffing. These “frontline” staff are the individual caregiving aides who provide most of the actual non-medical support to seniors. These caregivers are responsible for tasks like changing clothes, ensuring proper nutrition, helping with grooming, transferring residents, and more.

Yet, despite the critical role played by these caregivers, Illinois had the fewest of these care workers per resident in the entire country. In other words, many Illinois nursing homes are chronically understaffed. It is little wonder that many state seniors experience falls, wandering accidents, and suffer from bed sores caused by inadequate wound- dressing/turning support.

The state was also near the very bottom when it came to total citations found by inspectors. Illinois was in the bottom ten both for overall deficiencies and severe deficiencies. The severe deficiencies refer to situations that place residents at risk of serious injury or even death.

In a press release on the results in Illinois, the executive director for the group that put out the report explained, “According to the report card, 96 percent of Illinois’s nursing homes were cited one or more deficiencies. Worst yet, 1 in 4 nursing home were cited a severe deficiency, indicating widespread abuse, neglect and mistreatment.”

We Can Do Better
This latest report is just another in a long-line of alarming news about the poor quality of care provided in Illinois facilities. Each of these should act as a wake-up call to those who own and operate nursing homes in the state.

Unfortunately, the problem will not be solved by increased awareness alone. In fact, over the past few years state lawmakers have actually passed updates to the law seeking to improve these poor statistics. But there is a difference between passing a law and making sure that the rules are enforced. In Illinois, far too many homes simply ignore basic caregiving standards (and legal requirements) to the detriment of the seniors in their care.

This is exactly why our attorneys continue to urge families and loved ones to come forward on their own with signs of neglect. There are simply not enough inspectors in the state to properly monitor quality. Instead, the job falls to individual family members refusing to remain silent after a relative was hurt as a result of neglect.

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