Elder care systems have improved greatly over the past several years. Retirement and assisted living communities allow for greater autonomy for senior citizens living on their own or semi-independently. Unfortunately, traditional nursing homes and other medical care facilities still pose somewhat of a risk for elderly Illinois residents.
Neglect and abuse still occur
Several years ago, nationwide news outlets featured exposé coverage of nursing home conditions. The publicity raised awareness, and hopefully the quality of care, in many facilities. Among the potential risks identified were:
- Missing handrails and safety supports
- Poorly lit hallways and common areas
- Crowded living and eating conditions
- Uneven or unsafe walkways and stairs
- Delayed or skipped doses of medication
Despite the best efforts to identify areas of potential risk to nursing home residents, there are still many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect occurring throughout the nation. Families and loved ones are often left to investigate issues on their own or with competent legal support.
Overmedication and other dangers
One of the most concerning and dangerous situations for elderly or incapacitated nursing home residents involves medication. Residents often take vital medications on a strict regiment that requires consistency and accuracy. Even one missed dose could lead to severe trouble for some residents.
Overmedication or sporadic doses may result from understaffed nursing home facilities. Even though this may be unintentional, this type of nursing home neglect is no less dangerous. Disorganized recordkeeping and unauthorized prescription dispensing practices are also more common than many people realize.
Although these scenarios definitely raise cause for alarm, they are avoidable. Families must perform their due diligence when choosing a nursing home for their loved ones. When a potential case of nursing home abuse or neglect is suspected, family members must contact the appropriate local authorities at once. Effective legal representation may also be retained in order to ensure a fair and equitable settlement.