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Illinois Is Failing Nursing Home Residents

Roughly 1.5 million people currently reside in nursing homes across the United States. By 2023, that number is expected to rise by 40 percent. The health and safety of nursing home facilities will only grow in importance as the population of the U.S. ages. According to a recent review of nursing home care in all 50 states, Illinois is failing to provide an acceptable level of care. Illinois was one of eleven states to receive an F from the nonprofit elder advocacy group, Families for Better Care. The grade was based on 2012 data detailing staffing, inspections, deficiencies and complaints collected by the federal government.

Instances of extreme neglect and abuse in nursing homes can draw headlines. The absence of headlines is not an indication that appropriate care is being provided, however. The report showed that in 43 states, nursing home residents receive less than one hour of professional nursing care per day. Among the primary concerns in the industry is a lack of adequate staffing. Providing a full complement of properly trained caregivers is an expense that many nursing homes avoid. The result can be catastrophic for residents.

Caring for the elderly can be stressful work. Some residents require substantial assistance and may suffer from dementia, Alzheimer's or other impairments that make helping them a challenge. It is vital for nursing homes to find caregivers who can provide the proper level of assistance while treating residents with respect.

Clearly, Illinois needs to work harder to protect the residents of nursing homes throughout the state. The situation will only grow worse when the same understaffed facilities are asked to take on greater and greater numbers of residents in the upcoming years.

Source: CBS Evening News, "Eleven states get failing grades for nursing home care," by Manuel Bojorquez, 9 August 2013

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