Nursing homes and hospitals throughout Chicago and the state of Illinois are experiencing a reduction in inspections due to the recent government shutdown. According to news reports, Illinois is one of the top recipients throughout the country of federal money to pay for inspections of nursing homes, hospitals, and other health care operations. In fact, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) receives approximately $1.3 million each month to pay for inspections of medical facilities. This could be of some concern for patients living in nursing homes, as well as their families. There is a possibility that without these inspections, residents of nursing homes may not receive the proper care to which they are entitled.
Nursing home abuse or neglect can cause the victimized patient to experience serious physical and emotional suffering. Victims should be fully compensated for any personal injury or emotional anguish that results from another’s negligence or cruelty. If you are concerned that a family member has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it is important to contact an experienced injury attorney who can help to protect your family member’s rights.
According to a spokesperson at the IDPH, despite the shutdown and lack of funds, the agency is still performing inspections at facilities when they receive credible complaints about a particular location. This may bring comfort to families with loved ones at nursing home facilities, but not every resident is able to voice their complaints. The IDPH has reassured the public that at this point, the shutdown and lack of funding has not created an immediate problem, but it cannot say what will happen if it continues.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), Administration on Aging, reports that elder abuse occurs in various community settings, such as private homes, as well as institutional settings like nursing homes and other kinds of long-term care facilities. In 2008, approximately 3.2 million Americans resided in nursing homes. The NCEA further suggests that elders who experienced abuse, even if the abuse was “modest,” had a 300% greater risk of death when compared to those who had not been abused. Elder neglect or abuse has been defined as intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or another whom the elder trusts.
Many nursing home residents have limited abilities to communicate and/or may be reluctant to report any neglect or abuse, for fear of retaliation. Therefore, identifying potential abuse often requires careful monitoring by the family or other concerned parties. Nursing home residents could be experiencing physical, emotional and verbal abuse. Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (the “Act”), nursing homes are required to treat their residents in a non-negligent manner. The Act guarantees that nursing home residents have the right to be free from neglect and abuse.
The Act states that you could have a claim for the nursing home’s failure to provide adequate personal care, medical care, or maintenance when the failure results in physical or mental injury to a resident, due to a physical or mental condition. If you suspect a family member has been subject to nursing home abuse or neglect, contact a local injury attorney as soon as possible to help protect your loved one.