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Are Chicago’s nursing homes covering up abuse and neglect?

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2024 | Personal Injury

Moving a loved one into a nursing home requires a lot of trust in the staff members of that facility. From the environmental services technicians who care for the sanitation of the unit and the personal care aids who help with hygiene matters, to the nurses who provide medical care and the administration who oversees everything, everyone involved should be held accountable for their actions.

Nursing homes are also supposed to be overseen by government agencies, such as the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), to better ensure that residents are being cared for as they should. Unfortunately, that’s not happening as it should. This is due in part to the fact that the monitoring is based largely upon the homes sending in reports, which is something that Chicago nursing homes are often lax about.

Care and staffing requirements

One of the criteria that’s considered a benchmark for care in nursing homes is staffing, which directly impacts resident care. In 2022, Governor Pritzker signed legislation that ties funding of nursing homes to staffing. While that may sound good, it hasn’t actually made a difference in resident care.

Chronic understaffing is sometimes seen as a way to balance the budget of a nursing home, but this means residents are left without critical care they need. As of 2014, residents in nursing facilities should receive 2.5 hours of nursing and personal care per day if they have intermediate care needs. That increases to 3.8 hours per day if they need skilled care. Sadly, around 32% of Chicago nursing homes don’t meet the 2.5 hours per day requirement.

Problematic care for residents

When a resident doesn’t receive the care that they should, they can end up with serious medical issues. For example, some residents aren’t receiving proper incontinence care. This can lead to their skin being exposed to urine or fecal matter for hours, which can cause the skin to breakdown and lead to an infection. These residents will likely need medical attention.

Residents who suffer harm because of neglect or abuse at the hands of nursing home staff may opt to pursue a compensation claim. This is rarely a straightforward undertaking, so seeking support before moving forward is generally wise.