Many of us are aware of the power of social media. It can be extremely useful in getting the attention of senior care executives as well as government agencies. Here in Illinois there have been a great deal of complaints and stories in the media over the past year regarding the delay in the the Illinois Department of Health responding to complaints of poor care at senior facilities.
I submitted a complaint to the IDPH back in January and received a call today for the first time in regards to the complaint. Interestingly, it came after a Facebook post I made about the delayed investigation issue just last week (https://www.facebook.com/pam.kelleher2019/). This likely means that someone from the IDHP or a related organization saw the post and pushed my complaint into the light. The woman who called me was extremely well versed in senior care and was very pleasant and helpful. She asked me many questions and was able to clearly see the possible violations and concerns I had due to the extremely thorough complaint I submitted.
What was quite interesting was learning how difficult it is to hold a facility accountable for violations that are clearly seen in a complaint. The facility is alerted that someone from IDPH will be coming regarding a complaint, so there will be lots of time for the facility to clean things up for that day and be ready for whatever they may be asked. A better method would be an unannounced drop-in by the IDPH. If a facility is doing things the way they should, then no advance notice should be necessary. What I realized is that in order to improve the care and change things so others do not suffer as my mom did, I will need to climb uphill for quite some time and work my way up to improving the law.
There is nothing that will stop me from continuing my quest to improve the care of seniors in senior care facilities and those served at home. If you have issues with the senior care that you or someone you love is receiving, then speak out. Feel free to contact me if you are not sure where to start, but do not let it go. The only way to make change is to keep the issues at hand consistently in the public eye.
Feel free to post concerns online, but as I stated use the media appropriately. What does not work is going online and just slamming a company with a laundry list of complaints. When people do this they often lose their credibility as people feel they are just angry and lashing out. Speak clearly and factually about your concerns and your particular situation. Do not attack a company in general. A senior care company is not necessarily all bad just because one location is not providing quality care. However, one location with issues is one too many. The legal system has to be able to do more to protect the mental and physical well-being of seniors when they receive poor care and not just be used when a serious physical injury or death occurs. Any type of neglect needs to be prevented, and in order to do that, the facilities need to know there will be serious consequences for the company when it does.