Many families in Illinois rely on nursing homes to care for their loved ones. Unfortunately, many of these facilities are understaffed, and incidents of neglect and abuse sometimes occur.
According to a new report in Gerontology, residents in for-profit nursing homes were almost twice as likely to experience health issues related to substandard care compared to residents in homes or not-for-profit facilities. Signs of nursing home neglect included dehydration caused by improperly managed feeding tubes, bed sores and medication mismanagement.
The study analyzed information on 1,149 patients aged 60 and older in the Chicago area. All the patients had been seen in local hospitals for problems that could have potentially been related to neglect. Researchers analyzed the correlation between the patients’ medical problems and the types of facilities where the patients lived using the Clinical Scale of Neglect.
The study found that for-profit nursing homes were consistently rated below not-for-profit facilities for staffing and capacity measures. Workers at for-profit facilities who are providing patient care may actually be paid less than workers at not-for-profit nursing homes.
Loved ones of nursing home residents who are concerned about nursing home neglect may benefit from consulting an attorney. Nursing homes might be held liable for failing to prevent bedsores, falls and medication errors. An attorney may be able to help families investigate a nursing home neglect case by obtaining a nursing home resident’s medical records and information about any complaints that have been filed against the nursing home.
Workers at nursing homes who report issues like understaffing and abuse of residents by other staff members are protected by whistleblowing laws. If a nursing home employee has been demoted, transferred, fired or made to suffer any other negative actions taken against them as a result of reporting nursing home abuse or neglect, an attorney may be able to help the employee file a whistleblower lawsuit.