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Illinois Department of Public Health Releases Latest Report of Nursing Home Abuse

A recent federal study is reporting that nursing home abuse continues to be a serious problem in Illinois placing elderly residents throughout Illinois at great risk of harm. More than 100,000 elders rely on local long-term care facilities for quality care, and it is clear to Illinois nursing home negligence attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm that their trust is being violated. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, at least 29 Illinois nursing homes committed a serious violation in the first half of 2011. In most cases, basic health and safety procedures were not followed, resulting in the physical and sexual abuse of vulnerable residents.

Illinois already ranks second in the nation for the number of poor quality nursing homes, and the latest report suggests that the trend towards inadequate care is continuing. The Albany Care Center in Evanston was just one of dozens of area nursing homes cited for inadequate care. The facility has a history of serious abuse violations, and last year was no exception. In one particularly troubling incident, a resident physically assaulted his roommate causing the roommate to suffer a fractured vertebra, three fractured ribs, and a collapsed lung. The perpetrator had a severe mental illness with a history of aggressive behavior, yet the nursing home failed to properly supervise him or take other preventative safety steps. Even after the resident’s violent outburst, the nursing home failed to implement a proper procedure to notify local authorities about the incident. These instances of negligence resulted in a $12,500 fine.

Other nursing homes in the state also violated basic standards of resident care. At the Alden Terrace of McHenry Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, staff members failed to protect two dementia residents from sexual assaults. Both instances of sexual abuse were committed by the same resident within two months of one another, but the facility did not conduct any abuse investigations. State law requires that nursing homes notify police when they receive allegations of sexual abuse, but no police reports were filed in connection with these assaults.

Our experience with victims of nursing home negligence and abuse suggests that understaffing and poor training significantly contribute to the poor care and inadequate reporting methods. When staff members are not adequately trained to spot instances of sexual abuse, the abuse is likely to continue against our weak and defenseless nursing home residents.