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Nursing home neglect a problem for patients in need

Everyone hopes to be able to always take care of his or her family and Chicago residents are no different. Whether it is helping a sibling out with money trouble or guiding a young family member through a tough time, families here in Illinois and across the country try to take care of their problems internally.

In some cases families need more support than they have to offer and need outside help. One situation that often requires a family to enlist an outsider's services is when long-term medical care is needed. Desperate families turn to nursing homes to provide safe and effective health care for their ailing relatives.

However, not all nursing and care homes provide safe havens for people struggling to regain their health. Medicare's inspector general recently released a report that indicates nearly one-third of all nursing home patients are harmed while under their facilities' care. From errors in administering drugs to abuse, nursing home neglect is a major problem all across the United States.

Many problems in nursing homes are caused by understaffing, poor training and other preventable issues and the inspector general's report suggests to some doctors that more than half of all nursing home injuries are avoidable. Simple changes may allow more facilities to learn from prior incidents and prevent serious injuries to other patients, though few homes have the resources to implement big changes.

Though some families may have no other options but to put a family member in a nursing home, all individuals who receive care in such facilities deserve to be treated with respect and effective care. Anyone who has suffered at the hands of a negligent nursing home may have legal rights to damages for their injuries.

Source: JDNews.com, "Work still needed to prevent nursing home errors," March 9, 2014

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