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Long-Term Care Ombudsman protects nursing home residents

As people age, they often develop long-term health problems that can require them to enter care facilities that are designed to meet their medical needs. Unfortunately, sometimes residents end up being abused or neglected by staff workers, or even victimized by other residents. This is the reason the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program was established in Illinois: to work toward the prevention and elimination of such abuses and preserving the rights of resident patients. This program is available to every resident in any long-term care facility.

If any resident experiences abuse or neglect at a long-term care facility, a complaint against the responsible parties can be filed with a local ombudsman or an ombudsman with the Illinois Department on Aging. Complaints can also be filed if a patient has been discharged inappropriately or prematurely. An ombudsman can also provide information about a variety of care-related issues, including long-term care facilities throughout the state, medical coverage and the rights of patients.

Residents of long-term care facilities around Illinois have complained of bedsores, falls and dehydration, as well as medication errors and misdiagnoses by facility physicians. In any case in which a patient complains of such problems to family members, they should contact an ombudsman immediately. Ombudsmen pay attention to every complaint and maintain confidentiality about the complaints and the alleged victims of abuse. If a case enters the legal system and operators are found guilty, a long-term care facility may be ordered shut down and the owners ordered to pay significant fines.

Residents are admitted to such facilities to recover from ailments or to live in places where they can receive appropriate treatment and care, not to have their rights violated or their dignity denied.

Source: Illinois.gov, "Reporting Abuse in Nursing Homes," Accessed on May 29, 2015

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