When a person's loved one is in an Illinois nursing home, the family should pay close attention to the conditions of the nursing home and how their loved one is being treated. If you lodge a complaint with the administration and do not see an improvement, notify the authorities or take legal action, as the nursing home abuse is likely to be affecting all residents.
Signs of nursing home abuse include leaking roofs, stains on the floors, inappropriate temperatures, flies, rodents and a malnourished loved one. Three nursing homes in another state were just closed because of such conditions. The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation into the homes after complaints from residents, families and staff members were made.
The judge in this case deemed the services "worthless." The nursing homes were getting funds from Medicaid -- more than $32.9 million -- and while the owners of the homes were taking extravagant vacations, nursing home residents lived in squalor and employees went unpaid. Some employees were even bringing residents' laundry home or to a laundromat so the residents could have clean laundry.
Other forms of nursing home abuse include ghost billing. This is when a nursing home bills Medicare and Medicaid for patients who do not exist or for patients who have died. Some suspect nursing homes may even trade something free to a resident in exchange for that resident's Medicaid number. Some nursing homes will also "upcode." This means that owners or administrators bill residents for highly specialized care and rehabilitation services and the resident never receives that care or rehabilitation.
In addition to calling an attorney if you suspect nursing home abuse, you should also contact the Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General or the FBI. You could stop nursing home abuse if the home is investigated and is found to be negligent in their care of the residents.
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Nursing Home Abuse," May 8, 2012