CHICAGO. Families now have more resources than ever to research nursing homes before they entrust a facility to care for their loved ones. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1.4 million people in the U.S. currently reside in nursing homes. With over 15,000 nursing homes in the country, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Families may not know how to discover whether a home has faced charges of nursing home neglect or abuse in the past.

Yet, with the right tools, families can find a nursing home that meets their needs. ProPublica offers an online tool that allows families to research nursing homes for violations, and for instances of nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also offers data about historical violations it has found in nursing homes over the last three year inspection period

Currently, nursing homes are inspected once a year, but they are also inspected if there has been a complaint filed against them. Over the years, the inspections have revealed common violations. Families who are looking into a new facility may want to ask staff about these issues:

  • Accident Hazards. Slip and fall hazards, tripping hazards, and debris can lead to serious injuries for elderly residents. Every year, millions of individuals have to be hospitalized due to slip and fall injuries. Many of these individuals are over age 65.
  • Infection Control. How the facility handles infections or sickness matters. Do staff wash hands between residents? Are surfaces cleaned frequently? What protocols are in place to handle infections or sickness in residents?
  • Food Sanitation. Nursing homes handle food. Just as they must care for their residents, they must also make sure that their food handling procedures comply with state and local laws.
  • Care Plans For Residents. Each residents’ needs will be different. Some residents will enjoy greater autonomy and need less supervision, while others may need around the clock care. Is your loved one’s care plan tailored to his or her needs? A facility that takes a one-size-fits all approach may run into difficulties.
  • Accurate Clinical Records. It is important that your loved one’s nursing home properly track medications your loved one is taking. One common form of medical malpractice involves improper dosage or prescription of medication that can interact poorly with other medicines. Proper clinical records ensure that your loved one’s care is handled properly. In some cases, residents cannot always advocate for themselves. The facility’s nursing staff must have the information they need to properly advocate for their residents.
  • Background Checks. Nursing staff and other individuals on the property should be properly checked for records of abuse.
  • Dignity. Residents should be cared for in a way that is dignified and compassionate. Observe how nursing staff speak to residents and treat residents. Do staff know your loved one’s name? Small details like this matter.

Despite efforts to inspect nursing homes, every year, residents of nursing homes suffer neglect or abuse. If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, report it immediately. Furthermore, if your loved one was hurt due to nursing home abuse or neglect, you may only have a limited amount of time to take legal action. The Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. in Chicago are nursing home neglect lawyers who may be able to help you. Protect your rights. Visit our website at to learn more.