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Recognizing Alzheimer's Awareness Month

Walk to End Alzheimer's Chicago This June we join the effort to raise awareness and take action for Alzheimer’s Disease. Nearly 60% of all nursing home residents have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Our team of nursing home attorneys have been fighting for these residents for 30 years, and we are proud members of the Alzheimer's Association Workplace Alliance. We have seen how negligent nursing homes can affect residents and entire families, and we are committed to protecting residents’ rights.

Read: Choosing a Nursing Home: What to Look For, What to Ask.

Many nursing homes have Alzheimer Special Care Units to meet the unique needs of residents with dementia. In fact, these units are one of the fastest-growing aspects in the nursing home industry. Although nursing homes market these units as specially-designed to keep dementia residents safer and better cared for, until recently, nursing homes didn’t have to meet any certain standards to promote dementia units.

Far too many families fell prey to the Alzheimer’s Special Care Unit marketing scheme, paying more for the exact same care other residents received. Fortunately, Alzheimer’s advocates worked incredibly hard to expose this fraud and change state laws. Now, 23 states require facilities to tell residents and families what their special services include and how much more they cost than standard care.

Illinois Camera Law

Last year, a new law was enacted allowing video cameras in nursing home residents’ rooms. The Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Facilities Act lets residents or their family members install video and/or audio recording devices in private rooms. All residents who live in the room must consent to the devices before they are installed.

Most residents and families will need to pay for the cameras themselves. However, a $50,000 fund established by the state will help certain residents buy and install recording devices. More information on this law and the nursing home laws in your state can be found here.

A Growing Problem

Approximately 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and as the baby boomers age this number will grow rapidly. By 2050, 13.8 million Americans are estimated to have Alzheimer’s. Research, funding and developing treatments is critically important to reducing the massive impact this would have on our healthcare system and society at large.

Currently, Alzheimer’s cannot be prevented, slowed, or cured. We still don’t know why the disease develops, who it will affect or how it grows.

Most nursing homes are run by for-profit corporations that own chains of facilities throughout the country. This means a board of executives are in charge of how residents are cared for, the quality and amount of resources they receive, and who staffs the facilities. Like any other public company, executives are driven by shareholders, profits, and public approval.

This is why it’s so important to hold nursing homes accountable when residents are mistreated. The justice system is the most effective, efficient, and public way to expose bad business practices that lead to bedsores, falls, overmedication, and other life-threatening injuries.

Our nursing home lawyers are here to help anyone who has been mistreated and harmed in a nursing home. We can take clients nationwide and can travel anywhere to meet with our clients and help guide them through the process. If you have any questions, give us a call for a free consultation.

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