Springfield, IL- Choosing to put our elderly loved ones in a nursing home is a hard decision for many people to make. When you have no other choice but to place loved one in an Illinois facility, they need assurances that these facilities are safe and they have chosen the right one. While there are many facilities that can provide quality care, there are a large number that have been cited for deficiencies. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act gives residents, who have been abused or neglected, certain rights and a course of action they and their loved ones can take.

A recent survey of Illinois nursing homes found that facilities across the state are not living up to federal standards. A non-profit group which advocates for the elderly in nursing homes, Families for Better Care, gave Illinois nursing homes an “F” grade.

The greatest failing of long term care facilities in the state was their inability or refusal to provide enough caregivers. Families for Better Care found that Illinois homes were the worst in the nation for providing “frontline” caregivers. Residents get less than two hours a day of care from the staff in the homes where they live. These homes have very few RNs on staff. and provide, on average, less than one hour of RN care per resident per day.

Abuse and neglect is much more prevalent in understaffed nursing homes.

“Abysmal staffing levels contribute to the enormity of nursing home neglect,” said Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care.  “Residents are unable to be cared for properly when they receive fewer than 2 hours and 10 minutes of direct care daily.”

The survey found that one in four Illinois nursing homes was cited for at least one serious deficiency. Ninety-six percent of facilities have been cited for at least one lesser deficiency.

“Illinois represents what’s terribly wrong with nursing home care and oversight in America,” said Lee, “State officials and industry representatives should be ashamed of their abysmal nursing home record.”

Lee suggested that Illinois lawmakers take steps to better protect the elderly on these facilities. He suggests they start by passing legislation that would require mandatory minimum staffing levels for these facilities.

Currently, nursing home residents have some legal rights which are outlined by the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Nursing home residents have the right to be free of abuse and neglect, to refuse restraint if it is not recommended by a doctor, the right to refuse unnecessary medications, the right to see their own doctor and manage their own finances, and the right to access their own medical records.

One of the primary rights, and the most effective at prevent neglect and abuse is giving Illinois nursing home and their families the right to file a civil lawsuit. When a defenseless and sometimes helpless elderly has been abused or neglected, a Springfield nursing home abuse attorney will fight for their rights. With their assistance, an elderly victim can seek compensation for any medical bills they have incurred as a result of their abuse and for the emotional duress they have suffered.