Advocates Hit Streets to Protest Nursing Home Conditions

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsDespite amassing large profits, Illinois nursing home owners are systematically failing to invest adequately in the needs of the residents entrusted to their care, according to workers at the facilities, who gathered by the hundreds November 15 in a mass demonstration joined by lawmakers and community advocates.

Participating in a march and candlelight vigil outside four trouble-plagued nursing homes on the city’s north side, the workers said understaffing, supply shortages and woefully low staff compensation rates are all factors that hamper the quality of care at homes operated by members of the Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities (IAHCF). IAHCF is an alliance of more than 100 nursing homes statewide, and its members collectively compiled a $50.5 million profit in 2011.

During the demonstration along Sheridan Road, the marchers stopped at four nursing homes where they said conditions were symptomatic of the problems afflicting many IAHCF locations. The four locations – Lake Shore Healthcare, Chalet Living and Rehab, Alden Village North and Lakefront Nursing and Rehab – have all come under scrutiny from state regulators in the past year.

Meanwhile, at least 25 percent of IAHCF nursing homes are not complying with minimum staffing requirements set forth in landmark legislation the Illinois General Assembly passed in 2010 in an attempt to remedy chronic problems at the facilities. SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana backed that bill on behalf of the nursing home residents, and it is raising alarms in the community now, since illegal understaffing remains a pervasive problem throughout the industry.

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