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Illinois nursing homes face staffing shortages

The decision to seek full-time care is never easy for senior citizens and their families. Although the instinct is to keep older relatives close, especially as they need help, the task can prove too much. That's especially true if dementia or conditions demand round-the-clock care.

Although Illinois has many new nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities, this growth has caused a problem for local elder care. Illinois and Missouri are suffering from widespread staffing shortages that have already caused crisis situations for nursing homes and their residents.

A lack of qualified staff sets the stage for nursing home neglect -- a serious situation that can cause injury, illness or death. Failure to tend to immobile patients can lead to bedsores or falls. These can both take a toll on the compromised health of aging people. Overworked staffers are also more likely to make mistakes like giving the wrong medication to patients.

Several local resources help Illinois residents find the best nursing home for their needs from among those that do not have patterns of abuse or neglect in their history. One sign of problems is whether or not a facility has had Medicare funding withheld under the current management. Funding is based on federal inspection reports, so a poor inspection can trigger a withholding.

If families are not able to prevent abuse or neglect for their relatives in the care of a nursing home, experienced attorneys can help assess their legal options. An attorney may guide the collection of evidence for an investigation and negotiate with nursing home operators to determine legal outcomes.

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