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Monday, January 14, 2013

The Annual Inspection Process of Illinois Nursing Homes

Deciding that a family member or loved one would be better off living in a nursing home or other type of long-term care facility is a difficult process. When you entrust your loved one to the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility you expect that they will be treated with respect and dignity in a safe environment. Lots of careful research goes into selecting the facility or home that will best serve the health, physical and emotional needs of your loved one.

Unfortunately, there are some facilities that continue to violate their legal and ethical duties to take care of their residents. The state of Illinois has many safeguards in place to protect the rights of residents and patients of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. All Illinois nursing homes must be properly licensed and certified to remain in operation. One of the most important tools in protecting residents is the annual inspection process that all Illinois long-term care facilities must pass in order to maintain their license. Both these inspections and the licensing process as a whole provide an important opportunity for concerned family members, and residents themselves, to bring attention to any problems in a facility or nursing home. Problems may include unsafe physical conditions, substandard medical treatment, or specific incidents or abuse or neglect towards residents.

The annual inspections of Illinois nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are conducted by trained teams of health care professionals from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The purpose of the inspections is to make sure that the facilities are in compliance with all applicable Illinois and federal laws. Facility compliance with these laws also makes it less likely that residents will be the victims of abuse or neglect while living there. The inspections are unannounced and facilities are given no warning so that they cannot attempt to hide or suddenly fix any problems. The inspectors stay in the facility for three to four days and gain a feeling of what the facility's environment is like for residents on a day-to-day basis.There are specific rights that residents, and residents' family members, have during the annual inspection process. The Illinois Department on Aging has the following tips and information for how concerned residents and family members can report suspected nursing home violations to the proper authorities and information on their rights during these inspections:
  1.  If you, or a family member, have concerns about how you are being treated by a nursing home, keep written notes. These notes can be shared with facility inspectors and can be used to identify problems and areas of concern within a facility.
  2. Residents, and their relatives, can request private meetings with inspectors. This can be a confidential and safe way to convey concerns to the inspectors without having to worry about "problems" or retaliation from the facility or its staff.
  3. All facilities are required to display their annual inspection results and to make copies of the previous five years' reports available upon request.
  4. You do not have to wait for the annual inspection to report nursing home abuse or neglect. If you, or a relative, has been the victim of abuse or neglect in an Illinois nursing home or long-term care facility you can go to Illinois' website for reporting abuse here.
If you, or a relative, have been the victim of abuse or neglect in an Illinois nursing home you may be entitled to bring a claim against the facility. The attorneys of Keating Law Offices have successfully represented victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. If you have any questions about this post, or any issue about Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Mike Keating. You can reach him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 312-208-7702 or emailing him at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All emails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.