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1 Introduction

The Purpose of this Guide

You have decided that the time has come to move your mother, father or other elderly relative into a nursing home. It is a tough choice – one that thousands of people throughout Illinois must make every year as they juggle the needs of the family they are raising and those of an aging loved one.

The situation is more challenging when you don’t know which facility will provide the care and attention your loved one deserves. We hope our guide, A Family Guide to Safety in Illinois Nursing Homes, leads you to the right solution.

"As of 2013, 1.7 million residents of Illinois were ages 65 and older. By 2050, that number is expected to nearly double, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts."

As Illinois’ Population Ages, Challenges for the ‘Sandwich Generation’ Grow

Many years ago, a writer coined the term “sandwich generation” to describe those who find themselves being “sandwiched” between raising a family and caring for an older parent. As Illinois’ population ages at a rapid rate, the challenges faced by those in the “sandwich generation” will only grow.

As of 2013, 1.7 million residents of Illinois were ages 65 and older. By 2050, that number is expected to nearly double, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts.

CMAP, the northeastern Illinois regional planning organization, recently analyzed U.S. Census Bureau population data from 2000 and 2010 to paint a picture of just how fast the state’s population is aging.

CMAP found an 8.8 percent increase over the course of that decade in the number of people ages 65 and older who live in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties.

Northeastern Illinois' Senior Population (2000 to 2010) Residents ages 65 and older in 2000 and 2010, with percentage of total population
2000 2010 Change
County Residents Pct. Residents Pct. Residents Pct.
Cook 630,265 11.7% 620,329 11.9% -1.6% +0.2%
DuPage 88,794 9.8% 106,398 11.6% +19.8% +1.8%
Kane 33,981 8.4% 49,690 9.6% +46.2% +1.2%
Kendall 4,635 8.5% 8,382 7.3% +80.8% -1.2%
Lake 54,989 8.5% 73,093 10.4% +32.9% +1.9%
McHenry 20,913 8.0% 31,320 10.1% +49.8% +2.1%
Will 41,610 8.3% 62,814 9.3% +51.0% +1.0
Region 875,534 10.7% 952,718 11.3% +8.8% +0.5%

Source: CMAP Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, 2000 and 2010

Finding Quality Nursing Home Care in Illinois Can Be Difficult

For many in the “sandwich generation,” the solution is to move an aging loved one into a nursing home facility. Unfortunately, in Illinois, it can be difficult to find a nursing home facility that can provide the quality of care and assurances of safety that a family is seeking. Problems in these facilities are widespread.

According to Nursing Home Compare, a federal government-run website that provides quality-of-care information for the nation’s Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes, more than 30,000 “deficiencies” were reported in Illinois facilities between February 2012 and May 2015. A “deficiency” is defined as a failure to meet federal standards.

Deficiencies in Illinois Nursing Homes Between February 2012 and May 2015
Year Deficiencies
2015 3,466
2014 11,194
2013 9,945
2012 5,665
Total 30,270

Additionally, between 2010 and 2014, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) took more than 2,000 disciplinary actions against nursing homes – mainly due to violations of the Nursing Home Care Act.

Source: Nursing Home Compare, Data.Medicare.gov

Quarterly Reports of Nursing Home Violations in Illinois As reported to the IDPH between 2010 and 2014
Year Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total
2014 78 93 125 96 392
2013 152 210 49 71 482
2012 208 264 156 144 772
2011 58 84 96 202 440
2010 68 76 96 70 310
Total 564 727 522 583 2,396

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health, Quarterly Reports

How to Use Our Guide

The legal team of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. helps families every day to cope with the problems created by the mistreatment of an elderly loved one in a nursing home. We wrote this guide to help families avoid facilities where their loved one could be exposed to mistreatment and to aid them in transitioning to a safer environment if harm has already occurred.

By using our guide, you can learn how to recognize and respond to mistreatment of your loved one in a nursing home, including identifying signs of:

  • Physical abuse The intentional infliction of physical pain or injury through hitting, slapping and other forms of assault or through the use of restraints.
  • Emotional abuse The intentional infliction of emotional pain and anguish through intimidating, threatening or humiliating a nursing home resident.
  • Sexual abuse Making sexual contact of any kind, without consent, or forcing a resident to observe a sexual act or pornography.
  • Neglect The failure of a nursing home to provide basic care to a resident, including providing food, shelter, medical care and safety.

Our guide explains how to report suspected abuse and neglect and take legal action. Above all, our guide can be used to find a new home where your loved one’s health and dignity will be protected, including using our checklist when you visit a nursing home facility.

We hope this guide will help you and your family to make informed decisions that will ultimately lead to the best care for your elderly loved one in the years ahead.

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A Family Guide to Safety in Illinois Nursing Homes