How serious is nursing home abuse and neglect?

In the first quarter of 2018 alone, 26 nursing homes across the state were cited for serious violations with at least one involving a resident death.

It is not uncommon for families in Illinois to struggle with the decision to place their aging parent, grandparent or other relative into a nursing home, assisted living facility or other home. The need to provide safe care for them is important but all too often the place and people that are supposed to provide that safety fall short.

Elder abuse and neglect is a widespread problem in Illinois and around the country. It is important for families looking for options for their loved ones to know how to help keep them protected against these situations.

Research can be important

Conducting thorough research on potential homes for a relative can be very important. This obviously would include visits to the site and in-person conversations with the management, staff and even possibly some of the other residents. However, another important thing people can do is to review any violations that a facility may have received.

The Illinois Department of Public Health monitors nursing homes statewide and publishes a list of the violations given out on a quarterly basis. The report includes details about the nature of each violation.

Two types of violations

There are two grades of violations that a nursing home might receive. One is an A violation in which the concern was deemed very probably to have either resulted in the death or serious injury to a resident or to expose a resident to the death or serious injury. These injuries may be physical or mental. An AA violation is given for situations deemed to have immediately or closely resulted in the death of a resident.

Recent violations show ongoing problem

In the last quarter of 2017, 34 violation citations were issued, one of which was deemed an AA. In the first quarter of 2018, total violations numbered 25 again with one deemed an AA. Some facilities even received more than one violation in this time.

Warning signs of neglect or abuse

Next Avenue explains that there are some signs family member should always watch for and take seriously that may indicate some abuse or neglect is occurring. These include problems caused by malnourishment or lack of proper hydration and any cuts, bruises or other injuries that are not logically explained. Changes in behavior or mental state may also be of concern as depression may occur in a person experiencing abuse or neglect.

Anyone who is concerned about the safety or well-being of a family member in a nursing home should reach out to an attorney for help. Speaking with a lawyer can offer insights into how to proceed to keep a relative safe.