The Illinois Act on Aging created the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. 20 ILCS 105/4.04. The program was created to make sure older persons and others with disabilities receive quality care in long-term care facilities. The idea behind the program is to give elders a government ran support system, which they may not have had otherwise. Elders and their families are able to go to the ombudsman with complaints and in turn the ombudsman will advocate on behalf of them. This advocacy manifests itself in many ways. Ombudsmen inform long-term care residents and their families of their rights, resolve complaints they may have, provide information about residents' needs and concerns to long term care facilities, and generally advocate for good individualized care. More information about the program can be found here.
Legislation expanding the Illinois Ombudsman Program was signed into law in August of 2013. The expansion's goal is to have ombudsmen advocate for seniors in home care and managed care situations as well as for ones in long-term care facilities. This expansion will not affect the role of the ombudsmen, "serving as an independent voice and advocating for individuals receiving long term services." What it will do is increase the impact of that mission. The decision to expand was a choice made by the State to offer services already provided to a certain population of seniors, to other seniors who may also be in need.
In an attempt to make the service convenient to residents throughout Illinois the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program has regional offices all over the state. The addresses and contact information of the offices can be easily found on this list.
The recent expansion of this program in Illinois may be a reaction to a growing problem in the state: an increase in elder abuse and neglect combined with a lack of knowledge of how to deal with it. One effect of the increase of ombudsmen presence could be an increase in general awareness that elder abuse goes on, and this heightened sense alone could empower a sector of society's most vulnerable people.
If you or someone you love has been injured, neglected, or abused in a nursing home at the hands of nursing home caretakers, please contact Ed Fox & Associates today.