One of the primary concerns that people possess when they place their loved one in a nursing home or other long-term care facility is the level of care that person will receive. Will they get the help they need each day? Will someone assist them with meals? What about when the patient wants to move about the facility? These are reasonable concerns to address with the staff at any facility you utilize for the care of your elderly relative and may be especially important if your loved one has limited cognitive abilities. With diseases that produce mental confusion, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, the level of care and supervision necessary increases and failure to provide the needed care can have devastating results.
The overwhelming majority of residents in Illinois nursing homes have at least some degree of physical limitation. Some are unable to dress themselves or bathe themselves on a daily basis. Others struggle with their mobility and may need the assistance of a cane, walker, or wheelchair to ambulate around their facility. And yet others may experience decreased flexibility, strength, and balance that often comes with aging. Whatever the reason behind their issues, it is clear that these people need assistance. Help with mobility and other issues is one reason that families make the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home or other assisted care facility. And when that family member is placed, people feel reassured that he or she will receive the care that is deserved and needed by employees who are dedicated to providing that service. Tragically, though, every year there are countless incidents across the nation involving a nursing home patient who has fallen or been dropped with many of these causing injuries.
A movement in several states is starting to take hold to allow the use of cameras inside nursing home patient’s rooms in an effort to ensure transparency about the type of care received. Encouraged by advocates and organizations against nursing home abuse, these cameras serve to record the activity that goes on inside a patient’s room that otherwise may go unnoticed, whether the conduct is positive or negative. As the national population continues to age and those in Illinois and across the country place a greater demand on long term care facilities, issues related to their safety gain greater prominence in national debates with many wondering what more could be done. This week, Illinois took a step towards securing greater care for its nursing home residents when Governor Bruce Rauner signed a new law. The law will allow camera placement in nursing home rooms so that family members can monitor the care their loved ones receive.
Debate está librando en gran parte del país sobre el uso de videos de vigilancia o cámaras escondidas en hogares de ancianos. Los defensores argumentan que las cámaras pueden ser muy importante en asegurar que nuestros ciudadanos más vulnerables reciban el cuidado y la compasión que necesitan, mientras que residen en un hogar de ancianos y, además, que los empleados criminales serán responsables si actúan en contra de los mejores intereses de un paciente. Simultáneamente, muchos dueños de hogares de ancianos y otros en la industria han expresado su preocupación sobre la práctica, a menudo acostando su disgusto por las cámaras en otros términos, como alegando que las cámaras pueden plantear problemas de privacidad para los pacientes. Illinois es uno de muchos estados que actualmente está considerando legislación en esta área. Actualmente un proyecto de ley aprobado por ambas casas estatales espera la firma del gobernador para convertirse en ley y, si se firma, permitirá que los familiares de los pacientes en hogares de ancianos coloquen cámaras en los cuartos de sus seres queridos. Esta medida ha contado con el amplio apoyo entre muchos en el estado, incluyendo el fiscal general, y viene en un momento crítico para el cuidado de ancianos.
The vast majority of residents of nursing homes are on some type of prescription medication. Most are on a combination of drugs that help manage pain, reduce inflammation, control chronic illnesses or diseases, or treat acute illnesses. Each nursing home patient is a unique individual with personal needs to be addressed and to be treated, often in a medical context. There are some commonalities that exist among the nursing home patients that live in Illinois and that reside in the rest of the country, like the need for medication. It is so prevalent that the public often assumes that nursing home residents will receive the medicine that they need and in the time in which it is needed. The reality of the situation is much more complex and complicated as inadequate training, maintaining low staffing levels, and a generalized lack of concern can lead to patients missing medication doses or to having doses administered at an improper time. Medication mistakes is just one form that nursing home abuse and neglect may take regardless of where in the nation it occurs.
Debate is raging in much of the country over the use of surveillance videos or hidden cameras in nursing homes. Advocates argue that the cameras can be vitally important in insuring that our most vulnerable citizens receive the care and compassion that they need while they reside in a nursing home and, further, that criminal employees will be held liable if they act against the best interests of a patient. Simultaneously, many nursing home owners and others in the industry have raised concerns about the practice, often couching their dislike for the cameras in others terms, like claiming that the cameras may raise privacy concerns for the patients. Illinois is one of many states that is currently considering legislation in this area. At present, a bill passed by both state houses awaits the governor’s signature to become law and, if signed, will enable the family members of nursing home patients to place cameras in their loved one’s rooms. This measure has enjoyed wide-spread support among many in the state, including the attorney general, and is coming at a critical time for nursing home care.
In every state in the nation, debates are raging over how best to protect the vulnerable citizens that are confined to nursing homes from abuse, neglect, and harm that they may face. Some states are enacting laws to increase oversight of these facilities while others are raising minimum standards of acceptability in these homes. In recent years, some states have considered allowing residents to install security cameras – whether hidden or known – in their rooms to record the care they receive. Debates about the appropriateness of security cameras have taken place in Illinois as well with many supports for the cameras and detractors against them. While not everyone may agree as to the practicality of this surveillance, there is one fact that cannot be denied – every year, cameras capture nursing home abuse and neglect across the country and provide unbiased documentation of the harm that is done. Due to these cameras, some offenders have been held accountable for their actions when they otherwise may not have been. Some facilities have been forced to admit wrongdoing, and some people have even been sentenced criminally for the harm they have inflicted.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1.4 million Americans live in nursing homes. Not only are the lives of these individuals affected by nursing home safety and protocols within the homes but their loved ones, family members, and friends are also impacted by the care that is provided. In Illinois, it is the duty of a nursing home, long-term care facility, and the employees that work in these settings to provide assistance consistent with the standard of care to residents and to treat safety as a paramount concern. Yet despite the impact that nursing homes have, despite the laws that govern their conduct, and despite the moral duty that employees and owners have to provide adequate care, nursing home abuse and neglect happens every day in American and vulnerable adults are forced to suffer the consequences. It can be difficult to identify when nursing home abuse happens because many victims are unable to alert others to the wrongdoing and many perpetrators are able to conceal their misconduct. If you suspect neglect or harm done to a loved one in a nursing facility, speaking with a personal injury attorney in Illinois may help you realize what rights may exist to protect your loved one and enable him or her to receive the relief that is deserved.
Right now, 1.4 million Americans live in nursing homes across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That number is continuing to grow every year as the population in America both increases and ages, placing a greater demand on long term care facilities like nursing homes. This has led to an increase in the number of nursing homes across the country and a demand for even more to come. The push for new nursing homes is not solely due to the increased need, though, as the potential for profit has been a significant motivator for many. Currently, more than 68 percent of all nursing homes are owned in a for-profit manner which can lead to substantial profits for those owning such facilities. With a significant demand for homes, an increasing annual demand, and the potential for substantial profits, some nursing homes in Illinois and in other states have been operating without patient care as their primary motivator. Financial concerns have led some to cut corners or to operate with low staff levels. Others find their employees overworked and unable to meet the standards of care required as a result. No matter the motivation or the excuse, nothing permits nursing home neglect or abuse and such conduct is always improper.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 14 million Americans aged 65 and older have some form of disability. While some of these people are able to live on their own or with family members, many are confined to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to receive the assistance they need on a daily basis. The nursing homes that care for these individuals are charged with providing safe and reasonable assistance to them and they are to act in a manner that benefits the patient. However, nationally, incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect happen on a daily basis and often take the form of misconduct against those residents who are unable to help themselves. Disabled adults in nursing homes, especially disabled females, face a higher risk of being the victim of abuse in that setting, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. From failing to provide adequate care to physical or sexual abuse, these incidents can be very serious and can leave a victim with injuries. Though this damage cannot be erased, a victim and/or that victim’s family members may be entitled to financial compensation for the damages inflicted in the case of nursing home abuse and they may realize that relief by working with a personal injury attorney in Chicago.