Tribune nursing home story points out another racial disparity

The Chicago Tribune showed today that some seniors are victims of rape, beatings and other violent acts at the hands of mentally ill residents living in the same facilities.


In at least two cases, someone died from injuries in such an attack.



This is a concern for all seniors considering entering a nursing home facility, and, unfortunately, the burden falls more heavily on black than white seniors.


About half of the Chicago facilities identified in a Tribune graphic as having 20 or more felons, or three more sex offenders, or both, are on the city’s South and West Sides.


The majority of seniors in these communities are black, as are most of the residents in most of those communities’ nursing homes.


Unfortunately, this is just another in a line of racial disparities in Chicago’s nursing homes that makes Ilinois arguably the worst state in the country for black seniors receiving nursing home care.


We reported in our July/August issue that Illinois had just one out of 51 majority-black homes rated excellent by the federal government, a percentage that was far lower than the percentage of white homes that received the same rating. 


In addition, black seniors in Chicago received worse care than white seniors, even if both were poor.


We also found that majority-black nursing homes had lower amounts of staff care overall, and that less of that care was provided by registered nurses, the most skilled workers, than in majority-white homes.


The Tribune story noted that incidents of abuse of senior by mentally ill residents often happened in facilities where staffing levels were low.


State legislators have expressed interest in taking action to stop these disparities.  Thanks to the Tribune’s showing that seniors sometimes become victims in a place where they were thought to be safe, they have another item to add to the list.









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