Illinois Receives Poor Grade in Nursing Home Care

When families choose to place a loved one in a nursing home or managed care facility, they expect that doctors, nurses and other medical staff will provide a certain level of care. Too often, however, this is not the case and instances of nursing home abuse and neglect are disturbingly common. Unfortunately, a recent report indicates that Illinois is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to providing adequate nursing home care.

The nonprofit group Families for Better Care recently released its Nursing Home Report Cards for all 50 states. Illinois was one of 11 states to receive a failing grade and was ranked 42nd overall in the nation.

Families for Better Care used a variety of statistics compiled by the Kaiser Health Foundation, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Nursing Home Compare and other organizations in determining the grades for each state. Specifically, this data included:

  • The average number of registered nurses and certified assistant nurses available per resident per day
  • The percentage of nursing home facilities with above average RN and direct care staffing
  • The percentage of facilities that had received an above average number of health inspections
  • The percentage of nursing homes with reported instances of care deficiencies
  • The percentage of facilities that had been cited for severe care deficiencies, defined as cases involving resident neglect, abuse, injury or death

Families for Better Care discovered that staffing numbers typically determined whether a state's facilities received better grades. States such as Alaska, Hawaii and Maine all scored well because they had a high ratio of RNs and caregivers to nursing home patients. The lowest ranking states, including Illinois, had very low ratios of caregivers to residents.

Overall, the information collected by Families for Better Care indicated that providing proper nursing home care is a significant problem in the U.S., even in states that received passing grades. For example, approximately 90 percent of all nursing homes had been cited for some form of care deficiency. Even worse, about 20 percent of nursing homes in 50 percent of states were cited for instances of neglect or abuse. Furthermore, even in the states that provide the best nursing home care, the rate of health inspections was extremely low.

These numbers may be discouraging, but experts are hopeful that they will lead to increased efforts to improve the state of nursing home care in Illinois and across the country.