Residents in group nursing homes in Illinois are at considerable risk of neglect that can result in injury or death. Audits released earlier this year show significant deficiencies within taxpayer-funded group homes. These deficiencies include failures to report and investigate instances of elder abuse.
Group Homes in Illinois
Group homes are intended to care for those adults with severe physical or mental disabilities. They provided specialized care for patients who require living assistance. Caregivers within these facilities have a responsibility to watch over patients and ensure their physical and financial safety. In all, there are more than 3,000 group homes in the state that are supposed to tend to the needs of more than 10,000 residents.
Auditors have determined that officials responsible for reporting abuse to state authorities routinely failed to file reports or investigate reported cases of abuse. The audit also found that state officials were negligent in awarding contracts to group nursing homes. The audit covered a period of four years that ended in June 2016. It was initiated following news reports that year which indicated residents in group homes in Illinois were not receiving proper care.
Individuals at Greatest Risk
Those individuals who are at greatest risk of abuse within group homes include those living with severe physical or mental disabilities. They include foster children who reside in the home as well as the elderly. Common conditions of those living within group homes include Downs syndrome, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other conditions which limit mental capacity. Many residents have physical limitations stemming from cerebral palsy, strokes, or other conditions that have left them physically handicapped.
Physical and Financial Abuse
Caregivers responsible for tending to patients can use their physical strength to create severe injuries. It is not uncommon for angry or frustrated caregivers to break bones, inflict traumatic brain injuries, or cause deep lacerations on patients in group home facilities. Patients are also at risk of sexual assaults and emotional abuse. Each of these types of abuse can significantly diminish an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
It is also notable that the audit uncovered numerous instances of financial abuse. These include buying and selling real estate, stealing personal possessions, and draining bank accounts. Other cases involved identity theft wherein the caregiver opened accounts in the patient’s name or sold their personal information for a profit.