WOOD RIVER, IL, (PRWEB) June 20, 2006
In 2004, there were over a quarter million complaints filed against nursing homes, says the Department of Health and Human Services. And over 75 percent of those complaints involved residents' rights, resident care, or quality of life. "Today, Americans are living longer, and sadly, nursing home neglect and abuse is on the rise," said attorney Brad Lakin, author of the free e-book, "How to Select a Nursing Home for a Loved One" (http://www.nursinghomechoice.com). "It's unfortunate, but children considering nursing home care for their elderly parents worry about what will happen once they leave their parents in a nursing home."
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of Americans aged 65 years and older who reside in nursing homes jumped by a half million between 1974 and 1999 (the last year for which figures are available). Nevertheless, Lakin points out, family members are often overwhelmed by the process of choosing a nursing home. "If you don't know what questions to ask or what to look for, it's impossible to make an informed choice about what is already a difficult decision," he said.
Lakin's track record as an elder rights advocate along with a personal tragedy involving nursing home neglect inspired him to write "How to Select a Nursing Home for a Loved One," and to offer it as a free download on NursingHomeChoice.com. "I wanted to provide consumers with a comprehensive guide to nursing home care," he said. "Because they don't have a voice for themselves, it's important that families of the elderly are well-informed advocates who can speak on their behalf."
"How to Select a Nursing Home for a Loved One" includes detailed information about locating and evaluating nursing homes; reviewing state surveys and complaint investigations to check a nursing home's track record; and the warning signs of abuse and neglect. In addition, the e-book provides a myriad of checklists and resources, including a Nursing Home Checklist that serves as a guide when considering a specific nursing home; the Nursing Home Resident's "Bill of Rights"; and hyperlinks to inspection information, and local and state sources of information.
"Spending 60 minutes reading ‘How to Select a Nursing Home for a Loved One' can prevent a personal tragedy," said Lakin, whose firm has litigated numerous cases of elder abuse and neglect. "Despite the revenues generated by the nursing home industry, many nursing homes are understaffed or hire unqualified staff." Lakin strongly feels that states often leave the policing of nursing homes to attorneys. "Most states have adopted nursing home care statutes, but regulations are only as good as the level of enforcement," he said. "Unfortunately, monitoring is underfunded in virtually every state, leaving litigation as the only alternative to hold nursing homes accountable for their actions."
Lakin concludes, "If there's one thing I want ‘How to Select a Nursing Home for a Love One' to do, it's to help families choose quality nursing care facilities, which will lessen personal tragedies."
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