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Illinois is the worst when it comes to nursing home neglect

If you're in a nursing home in Illinois, you can expect nothing more than the absolute worst this country has to offer.

According to the Office of the Inspector General, Illinois ranks first when it comes to the number of cases of neglect found in its nursing homes (or last in nursing home safety, whichever way you choose to look at it).

Perhaps even worse, of the known incidents of neglect, 40 percent never get reported to the local police. That means it's pretty much up to you to protect your loved one from neglect and abuse by being hyper-vigilant about their care.

Here are some telltale signs of trouble and the way to handle them:

1. You are pressed to stay out of your relative's room so that the staff can get him or her ready for your visit.

This should concern you. What doesn't the staff want you to see? Is your loved one in restraints? Is the bedding soiled? Are they wanting to make sure that he or she is dressed so that you're less likely to spot bruises? Insist on going back to help.

2. There are any signs of bedsores, even those that are just in the early stages. They're a sign that someone with mobility issues is being left to lie in one position for hours and hours at a time. That shouldn't happen if he or she is being cleaned, fed, dressed and changed often enough.

Immediately insist on an evaluation of the bedsores by an outside hospital or physician before they worsen or become infected.

3. Sudden changes in a senior's personality should be an immediate indicator that something is wrong -- either medically or emotionally. An angry and hostile demeanor should be just as concerning as submissive and fearful behavior if the behavior is abnormal for your relative and an abrupt change.

Make an appointment to have a medical and psychiatric workup done outside the nursing home. Your senior may be unable to articulate what's happening to him or her when you aren't there -- or he or she may be too afraid to speak up inside the facility where staff members might hear.

Nursing home neglect and abuse is something that should be reported to the police or other authorities -- to protect others in the same situation!

Source: foxillinois.com, "Preventing elderly abuse in nursing homes," Leslie Moreno, accessed Dec. 12, 2017

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