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Choosing the Right Nursing Home in Illinois

One of the biggest decisions that some people in Illinois face every year is whether to place their loved one in a nursing home, and if so, what home to select. With so many facilities to choose from, it can be a daunting task to sift through the information and determine which nursing home will provide your family member with the care that she deserves and the help that she needs.

If you are faced with this difficult decision, make sure you do your research as the care provided may vary significantly from one location to another.

Initially, know that Medicare has developed a ranking system for nursing homes in almost all parts of the nation. The rating system is based on a number of stars and a facility can be awarded up to five stars in three separate categories: health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. Based upon these three categories, a facility is given an overall ranking between one and five stars where one star is much below average, two stars is below average, three stars is average, four stars is above average, and five stars is much above average.

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New Patients are Bringing Superbugs into Illinois Nursing Homes

Keeping nursing homes clean goes a long way to protecting the safety of the residents who call them home. This means that germs and bacteria must be kept at bay to prevent infection and illness in patients and to control any that already exists. But a new study suggests that treating a facility itself may not be addressing the whole issue as new patients may be bringing germs into these long term care facilities upon their arrival.

The study was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine and was conducted by researchers of the University of Michigan. They found that nearly one out of four hospital patients who were discharged to a nursing home, rehabilitation center, or hospice facility had some type of drug-resistant germs on their hands, often referred to as “superbugs.” These superbugs enter Illinois nursing homes, among other long term care facilities in our state, where they have the opportunity to spread to other patients, staff members, and even visitors to the facility.

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Sepsis in an Illinois Nursing Home: What You Can Do

Nursing homes, like many other medical settings, can be a breeding ground for germs. Patients are kept in close quarters and some rarely leave the home, creating an environment where germs can hop from one person to another with ease and with incredible speed. Add to that the fact that many patients have comorbities and some have weakened immune systems and it means that infections are extremely prevalent in nursing home facilities in Illinois and can be very challenging to treat.

The body’s natural response to an infection is to trigger its immune system into action, trusting that the disease fighting capabilities will do their jobs and help a patient get well. In some situations, though, the chemicals released into the bloodstream to treat the infection trigger an inflammatory response in the soft tissues, called sepsis, leading the body’s immune system to attack things other than an infection and potentially leading to multi system organ failure. If a full-body inflammatory response happens, sepsis may progress to a condition known as septic shock, a life-threatening situation that leads to a significant drop in blood pressure and can be fatal even with the best medical treatment.

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Playing a Role in a Nursing Home Patient’s Care

Odds are that you have known someone in the past, know someone presently, or will know someone soon who resides in a nursing home. As America continues to age, the demand for skilled nursing care and for long-term care facilities will explode, placing greater demand on a system to support our elderly citizens. But how much do you know about nursing homes and the rights of patients who reside there? If you think a decision to place a loved one in a nursing home will be the last major decision you make about their care, the odds are that you are mistaken and that placement in a facility will just be the first of many tough choices to cross your path.

Few people realize that they have options when it comes to the care and treatment that their family members receive in an Illinois nursing home. They understand that some homes may focus on certain ailments or specialize in certain disabilities, but beyond those qualities, they may not know that they can have a choice. However, federal laws and some state regulations ensure that patients receive both the care they need and care that fits their personal objectives, meaning that family members, loved ones, and patients themselves can all have a say in the treatment received.

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Staff Abuse of Nursing Home Patients is a Troubling Reality in Illinois

The employees of nursing homes and long term care facilities are required by law to care appropriately for their patients. This can include assisting patients with movement, providing the appropriate medications as the appropriate times, and addressing any needs that arise. Under no circumstances should an employee or staff member of an Illinois nursing home act with disregard or even malice towards a patient or that patient’s safety as doing so would not only violate the standard of care required but also several state laws.

Yet every day, nursing home abuse happens here and the patients of these facilities are the ones left to suffer. This abuse and neglect can cause physical and emotional injuries, can lead to unnecessary suffering and anguish among patients, and can have a substantial effect for the remainder of a victim’s life.

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Pressure Sores are a Warning Sign in Nursing Homes

The presence of a pressure sore, often called a bed sore, is not a normal condition or part of the average process of being a nursing home patient. Instead, these wounds can often reflect a lack of care that is being provided to a resident or even intentional abuse perpetrated by the staff of Illinois nursing home upon some of their most vulnerable patients.

Pressure sores are injuries that occur when too much weight, or pressure, is applied to a person’s skin for a prolonged period of time. Typically they happen when an immobile patient is forced to lay in a bed all day or sit in a chair for hours on end without that patient’s weight being redistributed. If the same portions of the skin support a significant amount of a patient’s weight, that skin will break down over time, exposing the soft tissues underneath or even a patient’s bone. Once a bed sore forms, they can be very difficult to treat and they make it much more likely that a patient will contract an infection through the site of the injury.

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Broken Bones Can Be a Sign of Nursing Home Abuse

If you made the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home in Illinois, you may find yourself wondering about the care she will receive. Will her needs be met? Will his medication be given on time? How can I know that the nursing home is the right spot for her? Most family members are faced with countless questions when they have someone they love in a care facility, and often, those same family members do not understand how to find the right answers that they deserve.

The biggest issue for many is the safety of their loved ones while in a nursing home. While safety should not have to be a concern, unfortunately it is because countless incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect happen every year in Illinois and across the nation. From ignored requests for help to physical assaults, these incidents can occur in many forms and may be difficult to identify.

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Choking a Serious Threat to Illinois Nursing Home Patients

Many residents in Illinois nursing homes require assistance with their daily tasks and cannot function without help. This may include bathing, getting dressed, ambulating, taking medication, using the restroom, and eating. In fact, the need for this type of care is often one of the driving factors that lead family members to place a loved one in a nursing home or other long term care facility – while the needs associated with any illnesses or injuries may be minor, the work that must go into the other, day-to-day tasks can be so great that few families can manage the care without assistance.

In Illinois, state and federal laws require facilities to provide a certain level of care to residents and failing to do so may constitute nursing home abuse or neglect. But when it comes to the care provided to a particular resident, it can be difficult to determine whether that level of care is met or exceeded. Often, incidents may appear to be accidents or may seem like there was no intent behind them but these may still trigger legal liability on the part of a nursing home, its employees, and its directors.

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Some Illinois Nursing Home Residents at Risk for Sexual Abuse

While incidents of sexual abuse in Illinois routinely make the news, the sexual abuse of elderly individuals is rarely publicized. It is so uncommon that many in the area do not realize it exists. Yet the reality is that residents of nursing homes, hospitals, and other long term care facilities are at risk for being the victims of sexual abuse and that these incidents happen every single year.

Often, the elderly who reside in nursing homes suffer from physical and mental ailments that make them vulnerable to abuse. In a number of instances, a resident may be unable to report the criminal conduct due to an inability to communicate or may even forget the abuse done to them. But these incidents are traumatic and can cause not only physical damages but also mental anguish and suffering, leading to damages that should be addressed.

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Drug-Resistant Bacteria May Be Lurking in Illinois Nursing Homes

The care provided to elderly residents of nursing homes must be of the utmost quality so that each and every resident has her needs met. From assistance with daily tasks like getting dressed to meals and even medication dosing, those who work in nursing homes are required to act within a set standard of care so that they will not act in a manner that is detrimental to the residents’ health.

But new information has been uncovered that suggests an underlying threat to the safety of those who call an Illinois nursing facility their home, and it is likely that the residents, employees, and even management of those homes are unaware of the issue. The information stems from a study by the Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital and was published recently in the American Journal of Infection Control and it suggests that not enough is being done to recognize, address, and eradicate drug-resistant bacteria that lurks in nursing facilities.

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