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Chicago Nursing Home Injury AttorneyThe Illinois Nursing Home Care Act defines nursing home neglect as "failure to provide or intentionally withholding “adequate medical care, mental health treatment, psychiatric rehabilitation, personal care, or assistance with activities of daily living."

Nursing home neglect is a serious problem that can result in physical and psychological injuries or even death. Everyone with an elderly loved one living in a nursing home should be vigilant for signs of nursing home neglect. 

Red Flags of Neglect in an Illinois Nursing Home

Nursing homes are legally obligated to provide a reasonable level of care to residents. However, not every nursing home meets this standard. Signs of nursing home neglect can include:

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Chicago Personal Injury LawyerNursing home residents trust that the staff will care for their needs and keep them safe. Sadly, many nursing homes miss the mark. Nursing home neglect and abuse is more common than many realize. It can take the form of skipped medication, overmedication, failure to provide for the resident's daily needs, and even intentional abuse.

If your loved one was harmed as a result of nursing home neglect or abuse, you may be able to take legal action against the facility.  An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help you understand your options and take steps to protect your loved one's rights.

Causes of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

What are some of the main causes of nursing home abuse? In many cases, it is the result of medical negligence, failure to provide medical care, medication mistakes, and understaffing.

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Chicago Nursing Home Neglect LawyerWhile elderly or disabled residents of nursing homes are more likely to suffer risks of aging and decreased mental faculties, not all of these risks are inevitable. One common but avoidable danger to nursing home residents is choking on food and drinks. Nursing home residents should not be choking on their food and drinks; nursing homes are responsible for assessing whether a resident is at risk of choking and providing a diet and administrative method that allows that person to eat and drink safely. If you have a family member in an Illinois nursing home who has choked and died, the nursing home may have been negligent in caring for your loved one. 

Choking is a Leading Cause of Death in Nursing Homes

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is a condition that affects a significant number of elderly adults. Victims of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are more likely to suffer from dysphagia, as are patients who have had a stroke and patients who are old enough that they are suffering from muscle degeneration. 

Dysphagia can make nursing home residents more likely to suffer from other issues as well, including malnutrition, pneumonia, and death. Nursing homes know that patients suffering from dysphagia are more likely to choke on food and drink and must provide the assistance that patients need to eat safely. 

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Chicago Personal Injury LawyerWhen you move your loved one to a nursing home, rehabilitation center, or other elder care facility, you are expecting them to receive the physical, emotional, and mental support that they need if they cannot live on their own. You put your trust in the staff that they will keep them safe and well looked after. Unfortunately, the diminished physical or mental state that led to their move in the first place makes them vulnerable to various types of abuse. It is good to know the common types of nursing home abuse and neglect and what some of the signs that you can look for.

Keeping Our Elderly Loved Ones Safe

Elder abuse can come in many forms, each of which can be physically, emotionally, and mentally harmful. Common types of elder abuse include:

Neglect – This includes failing to provide residents with their basic daily needs, including food, water, medical care, clean clothing, and other basic hygienic needs.

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Chicago Personal Injury LawyerOn May 31, Governor Pritzker signed a new bill into law that will reform nursing homes around the state and tie their funding to performance measures and staffing levels. It also provides funding for increased pay for nursing home staff. The bill is partly a response to chronic staffing shortages in nursing homes that were only made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, while also trying to better address the care of residents in nursing homes.

More Funding for Nursing Homes, Nurses

The reforms in the bill provide for increased funding tied to staffing levels, new pay for certified nursing assistants, and connects funding to improved quality of care. The legislation adopts the federal Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) which helps nursing homes to better shape their care to reflect the needs of residents, prevents fraudulent billing, and promotes full disclosure of nursing home ownership. The disclosure portion is tied to a trend of private equity funds buying nursing homes and being linked to lower-quality care.

There are approximately 65,000 nursing home residents in Illinois, 45,000 of whom are enrolled in Medicaid. Currently, annual funding of $2.5 billion in state and federal funds goes through the Illinois Department of Public Health to the facilities housing the 45,000 nursing home residents dependent on Medicaid. Through this bill, an additional $700 million will be directed to nursing homes through a combination of additional federal Medicaid funds, a revised nursing home assessment tax, and Illinois general revenue funds. By law, the assessment tax is not allowed to be passed on to residents.

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