All states, including Illinois, require facilities to be licensed by a public body before opening their doors and accepting residents. This is a common sense regulation to ensure that these facilities are meeting basic safety requirements and have the resources necessary to provide residents with the quality of care to which they are reasonably entitled. In theory, this licensure requirement would work to limit the prevalence of nursing home neglect, because homes that were not capable of providing proper care or who failed to properly prevent repeated mistreatment would lose their license and be essentially shut down. Unfortunately, license requirements alone are insufficient to ensure that all of our area seniors in these facilities are properly cared for. There are various reasons for this. On one hand, the total number of facilities and the tight state budgets make it difficult for state inspectors to examine and investigate all facilities as routinely as they would like. Therefore, many of the worst facilities go unpunished because not enough involved individuals learn about the misconduct. In addition, even after misconduct has been found, there are often many avenues and legal tricks that these facilities use to postpone punishment and avoid it altogether.
The repeated examples of Illinois nursing home abuse that are still reported are a testament for the need for additional safeguards to help these vulnerable community members. Nursing home lawsuits are one of those safeguards. However, there are times when state inspectors and licensure requirements work specifically to spare seniors suffering.
For example, Independent News reported last week on how repeated instances of nursing home abuse and neglect led to the revocation of one facility’s operating license. The company that owns the particularly negligent facility was stripped of its license to operate after officials from the state’s Department of Public Health found “serious violations related to quality of care and actual harm to patients.” The investigators conducted their investigation amid rampant claims of abuse and neglect at the home in question.
The facility was placed under state control after the license revocation, but it has already been purchased by another large nursing home company. It remains to be seen whether the change in ownership will offer the change in care giving quality residents deserve. The facility has changed hands repeatedly over the last two decades. It seems few of the large companies which previously owned the facility were able to create a living environment that was void of neglect. Only three months into this year, the facility had already been cited 43 times for deficiencies. Several of those citations were related to serious instances which have the potential to cause serious harm to residents.
Our Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti urge all local victims of inadequate nursing home treatment to come forward with their story. The only way that regulators and advocates can help to end mistreatment is if they are aware of problems. Many seniors who are victimized are never given an opportunity to explain what happened to them, receive compensation for their losses, or hold their wrongdoers accountable.
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