Cook County, Illinois

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Barry Doyle
Barry Doyle
Contributor •

Little accountability for nursing home administrators

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Nursing homes are supposed to be havens of safety and comfort for the elderly, providing them with care and assistance that, often times, their families are unable to provide. We trust nursing home administrators and staff to treat our elderly loved ones with tenderness and patience, and yet, there is often a dark, ugly side to nursing homes that many people do not see.

Recent evidence suggests that "Illinois nursing home administrators are rarely disciplined when things go wrong — including violent assaults on elderly patients — even though the state Department of Public Health, which investigates nursing home care, refers dozens of cases a year to the agency in charge of meting out punishment".

The lack of discipline involved in the nursing home administration system means that there is little incentive for nursing home owners not to cut corners, since "in practice, most (nursing homes) are disciplined for minor infractions", if they are disciplined at all.

Furthermore, many employees who work in nursing homes do not have a health care background, which means that they often cannot offer a level of service that we would expect from the people who are caring for our elderly relatives and friends.

We cannot allow nursing home owners to get off the hook. We are entrusting loved ones into their care, and we need to make sure that our loved ones will be safe and protected.