Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm Chicago
When a person can no longer live independently, a decision must be made about the best alternative arrangement for care. Such a decision often must be made during a time of crisis, frequently when the person is ready to leave the hospital after a serious illness or operation. Illinois has approximately 1,200 long-term care facilities serving more than 100,000 residents, from the young to the elderly.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is responsible for licensing, regulating, and conducting annual inspections of this facilities. The IDPH’s Bureau of Long-Term Care is responsible for making sure nursing homes comply with the provisions of the state Nursing Home Care Act. The IDPH’s 24-hour a day Nursing Home Hotline receives nearly 19,000 calls a year, and as a result, staff respond to more than 5,000 complaints per year.
More and more Americans now reside in nursing homes as the Baby Boomer generation ages, and as life expectancy increases. While Americans now live longer, they do not necessarily live active lives and many are becoming dependent on caregivers. This has resulted in a massively growing nursing home industry. Unfortunately, the number of injury and accident claims from nursing home abuse, negligence and mistreatment has also grown over the years.
Nursing home cases are generally the result of either neglect or abuse. Neglect occurs when a caregiver is negligent or indifferent to the safety and well-being of residents under their care. In many cases, the neglect is not intentional but the result of under-staffing. Nursing home cases also frequently involve abuse, which includes mental, physical or sexual abuse.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides rights to residents in long-term care facilities. Residents are entitled to the following protections:
- No resident shall be abused or neglected.
- A resident shall be permitted to wear their own clothes and keep their own personal belongings in their rooms.
- A resident shall be permitted to retain the services of the resident’s own personal physician.
- A resident shall be permitted respect and privacy in the resident’s medical and personal care program.
- Neither restraints nor confinements shall be employed for the purpose of punishment or for the convenience of any facility personnel.
- A resident shall not be given unnecessary drugs.
- A resident shall be permitted to manage their our financial affairs.
- Every resident shall be permitted to freely communicate with others by mail, telephone, and by having visitors.
- A resident shall be permitted the free exercise of religion.
- A resident shall be permitted to present grievances on behalf of himself or others. The administrator shall provide all residents or their representatives with the name, address, and telephone number of the appropriate State governmental office where complaints may be lodged.
- No resident shall be subjected to unlawful discrimination.
Common Nursing Home Cases
While there are many federal and state regulations, including the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, designed to protect residents of nursing homes, violations occur every day that compromise the health, dignity and well-being of vulnerable residents. Negligence and abuse in a nursing home may come in many forms. Agruss Law Firm, LLC represents residents and families of wrongfully killed individuals in cases that involve:
- Financial exploitation
- Medication errors
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Physical or sexual abuse or assault
- Chemical or physical restraints
- Verbal abuse
- Wandering and elopement
- Bed sores, pressure sores or decubitus ulcers
Nursing home residents who sustain injury as the result of neglect or abuse, along with their families, may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses, disability or disfigurement, pain and suffering, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, and loss of affection and love if a wrongful death is the result.
Warning Signs of Abuse or Neglect
Unfortunately, many residents of nursing homes lack the ability to communicate their abuse or neglect. Many times, neglect or abuse in a nursing home presents several warning signs that family members should be aware of. This includes rapid and unexplained weight loss, unexplained injuries or bruises, emotional withdrawal or out of character agitation, the development of bed sores, the use of sedatives and medication to replace supervision and the inability of caretakers to explain the patient’s condition. Over-medication may be noticed through lethargy, involuntary muscle movement, seizure, or even sudden death.