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New report highlights abuse and neglect in Illinois group homes


Our state's most vulnerable citizens need to be protected. For many Illinois families, placing their beloved elderly and disabled family members in nursing homes and group homes is their best option. These institutions, which are regulated by the state, carry the burden of having to provide safe and adequate care to their residents. Unfortunately, though, a new report has found that many of these homes, and the state, have been covering up disturbing instances of abuse and neglect.

According to the report, there were more than 1,300 instances of harm suffered in group homes for disabled individuals in Illinois since mid-2011. This number is much higher than the one reported publicly by the state. Tragically, in some of these cases residents choked on improperly prepared food, suffered bedsores and were subjected to pain and suffering due to being undiagnosed and untreated for medical conditions.

Abuse is far too common in these homes, too. In one case, a male resident was beaten to death by a caregiver after he was accused of stealing cookies. Another woman hand her hands and feet bound with duct tape, and she was subsequently left on a kitchen floor for hours.

The reasons for this abhorrent care is numerous. Many employees are unskilled, underpaid and overworked. Some group homes are unlicensed, thereby avoiding some state government regulations, and others claim they do not have the resources to provide 24-hour supervision. These excuses are unacceptable. Disabled and elderly residents who cannot care for themselves should never be exposed to nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect or group home abuse or neglect. When they are, and harm is suffered, the victim and his or her family may want to pursue legal action. By filing a lawsuit, a family may be able to seek compensation for damages suffered while shining light on an industry that has been operating in secret for far too long.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Suffering in Secret: Illinois hides abuse and neglect of adults with disabilities," Michael J. Berens and Patricia Callahan, Nov. 21, 2016

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