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Illinois nursing home neglect attorneysWhen a person has been able to move about freely his or her whole adult life, it can be extremely difficult to lose that independence after being admitted into a nursing home. Nursing home residents may wander around the nursing home and get into very dangerous situations. A resident who wanders to an unsupervised area of the nursing home could slip and fall, wander into kitchens containing hot stoves, be exposed to hazardous cleaning chemicals, and more. When a resident actually leaves the nursing home facility, this is called elopement. Some nursing home residents have been seriously injured or passed away after being exposed to the elements outside of a nursing home facility.

Residents with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Are Especially at Risk

A great deal of nursing home residents suffer from cognitive diseases that affect their ability to understand what is going on around them. A person with advanced dementia may not understand that he or she is living in a nursing home for his or her own safety. The resident may attempt to “escape” the nursing home facility and go home. A fragile resident who goes outside may become lost or severely injured before nursing home staff even know they are gone.

There are many ways in which a wandering or eloping nursing home patient could be injured. He or she could slip and fall, or the resident could fall down unsecured stairs. If the resident leaves the facility, he or she could be hit by a car or become victim of a crime. Any of these injuries could leave the home itself liable for damages.

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysAs the “Baby Boomer” generation ages, more and more Americans are moving into long-term care facilities like nursing homes and assisted living centers. Tragically, many nursing homes in the U.S are plagued by staffing issues and funding limitations which leads to inadequate care. Studies conducted by the National Center on Elder Abuse found that 44 percent of elders surveyed had been abused and a staggering 95 percent had suffered neglect or had seen others neglected. Even more disturbing, over 50 percent of nursing home staff surveyed admitted to mistreating nursing home residents. Sadly, many instances of nursing home abuse and neglect go unreported. A study conducted by Cornell University and the New York City Department for the Aging found that elders experience abuse at a rate 24 times greater than the number of cases referred to law enforcement or social services.

Some Say Current Nursing Home Databases Are Ineffective

In order to address the prevalence of abuse and neglect in nursing homes, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing earlier this month. The committee discussed reports of elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes as well as ideas regarding how to protect these vulnerable residents from abuse. Just prior to the Senate hearing, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they are updating online tools which people can use to research nursing home quality and ratings. The Nursing Home Compare database rates nursing homes based on staffing, inspections, and other quality measures. The CMS rating system has criticized for inaccuracies and incomplete reporting. During the Senate hearing, a woman whose mother passed away as a result of nursing home neglect testified that even after her mother died from inadequate care, the facility where she lived had “received the highest possible ranking from CMS for quality of resident care.”  This particular facility had even been fined the year previously for physical and verbal abuse of residents.

Those Seeking a Safe, Compassionate Nursing Home Must Research Thoroughly

If you are looking for a nursing home for your loved one to call home, make sure to research your options thoroughly. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect is becoming more and more common and the residents often cannot report the mistreatment themselves. Checking out a facility in-person may be the best way to look for signs of neglect or abuse. Speaking with nursing home staff may also give you an idea of how compassionate and attentive staff will behave toward your loved one.

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