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State Efforts to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse

State Efforts to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse

The decision to place your loved one into a nursing home is a difficult one that most people do not take lightly. We want our loved ones to receive adequate and appropriate care and hope that the nursing home staff will meet our expectations. Toward this goal, we may spend a significant amount of time researching various centers and gathering reviews. Unfortunately, even when we exercise extreme caution, placement in a nursing home can result in injury to your loved one due to neglect or abuse.

The Illinois Law

In an effort to prevent nursing home injury and negligence, the Illinois Legislature passed the Nursing Home Care Act of 2010 and its subsequent amendments. Its main provisions include:

  • Mandatory staffing requirements that require 3.8 hours of direct care staffing for each skilled care resident and 2.5 hours of direct care staffing for intermediate residents;
  • Mandatory state certifications for all facilities serving residents with mental illnesses;
  • An increase in the number of Department of Public Health surveyors for nursing homes. The agency is currently required to employ at least one surveyor for every 300 nursing home beds;
  • An increase in sanctions and fines to include higher fines and/or longer suspension times in response to violations; and
  • Enhanced patient pre-screenings and background checks.

In August, the governor took an additional step toward protection of nursing home patients by signing a law that allows the placement of surveillance cameras in patient rooms. As reported by Consumer Affairs, the law takes effect on January 1, 2016. Families of nursing home residents can install the equipment at their own cost and must gain the consent of the resident or the resident’s guardian. If the resident has a roommate, the consent of the roommate is also required.

AARP State Director Bob Gallo is quoted in the article as stating, “The Illinois Department of Public Health receives approximately 19,000 complaints of abuse and neglect against long-term care residents yearly. AARP commends the General Assembly and Governor Rauner for their leadership on this issue and for helping to protect the state’s most vulnerable residents.” Illinois will become one of the few states that allow this type of surveillance.

Sadly, the news is filled with stories of nursing home abuse, ranging from physical abuse to cases of severe neglect. One recent Illinois case resulted in charges of aggravated battery against a previous nursing home employee who allegedly attacked and choked a patient. The patient reportedly died several weeks after the incident occurred.

While the state is taking measures to prevent the occurrences of nursing home injuries, families should also take a proactive stance to protect their loved ones. Visit your resident often and pay attention for potential problems. Look for signs of weight loss or dehydration. Check for bed sores on heels, elbows and the buttocks area. You should also maintain open communication with the nursing aids and communicate any concerns immediately.

Work with an Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

When nursing home injuries do occur, do not hesitate in securing the assistance of an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. The S.A.M. LAW OFFICE can guide you through the process of securing the compensation your loved one deserves. Contact the office for a free consultation.

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