Report Reveals Poor Resident Care in Illinois Nursing Homes
An outside review of nursing home oversight commissioned by the state found major shortcomings in the care residents receive. Due to substandard treatment at the hands of those entrusted with their care, some of society’s most vulnerable suffer injuries, worsened health conditions, or death.
Review of Nursing Home Oversight Highlights Flaws
Conducted at the state’s request, a 2020 review showed the Illinois Department of Public Health did not properly oversee the state’s nursing homes. Surveyors for the department check out about 6,000 complaints and conduct approximately 1,300 full facility inspections each year to ensure compliance with state and federal guidelines and regulations. Still, staffing shortages, stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and other factors let violations by facilities go unaddressed.
Examples of Nursing Home Neglect
The mistreatment of nursing home residents takes on many forms, and it does not always involve physical abuse. Neglect, like that caused by the issues pointed to in the report, involves failures by facility staff to provide for residents’ needs. For example, neglect may include mistreatment such as the following:
- Putting residents with mobility issues at risk for bedsores by not regularly moving them
- Not giving residents medications when they need them
- Isolating vulnerable residents, purposely or accidentally
- Failing to keep the rooms and common areas clean
- Not changing residents’ clothing regularly or if soiled
- Not helping residents with basic grooming when needed
Nursing home neglect often has wide-ranging consequences for residents, including causing them to suffer serious injuries, worsened or additional health issues, or death.
Response to the Nursing Home Oversight Report
The state has moved to resolve the problems brought to light through the outside review’s report. Taking the reviewing agency’s recommendations, the department acted to add staff and reorganized. The department also worked through the complaint backlog, investigating 272 complaints of alleged nursing home violations and substantiating 17 of the claims. The report by the reviewing agency also advised providing support, not just penalties, to facilities with ongoing performance issues, as well as making the performance reports available to the public.
In addition to taking steps to report the alleged neglect and put a stop to it, nursing home residents or their families may pursue options such as filing a lawsuit against the facility, staff members, or others responsible for their neglect.