We know that you and your family did the best possible job selecting a nursing home for your loved one, but the reality is that abuse can happen anywhere, at any time, and even in the highest-rated facilities.
At Thomas Law Offices, our attorneys have built their professional careers on a foundation of fighting for the rights, well-being, and safety of nursing home abuse victims. We don’t allow abuse and neglect within assisted living facilities to continue unchecked or unchallenged.
For an opportunity to meet one-on-one with an Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer for a completely free, zero-obligation consultation, reach out to our law firm.
We take most cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t have to worry about how to pay legal fees upfront, and you only pay if (and when) we win your case for you.
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Areas in Illinois Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Serve
Thomas Law Offices is proud to serve the people of Illinois. Our services are available across the entire state, including in:
- Buffalo Grove
- Calumet City
- Oak Park
We represent clients statewide. Our nursing home lawyers handle cases of Illinois elder abuse all across the Prairie State, from the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in the southwest to the World’s Largest Rocking Chair in the east to the historic home of Ulysses S. Grant in the north.
No matter where you are, the legal team of Thomas Law Offices is prepared to help you seek justice.
Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Illinois ranked twelfth out of fifty on a list of states with the most deficiencies per nursing home facility, based on 2019 data from The Senior List. On Medicare’s list of “Best and Worst States for Long-Term Care” Illinois ranks 28th, with a score of 50.46 out of 100 and an overall quality rating of only 13.71.
Under the Illinois Department on Aging, Adult Protective Services (APS) tracks data on abuse that occurs in Illinois nursing homes. Statistics of note include:
- There were only 10,308 reports of nursing home abuse in fiscal year 2010, compared with 20,567 reports in fiscal year 2021.
- Financial exploitation and self-neglect were the most common reports.
- 22% of all reports were made by social workers or counselors.
- Of all reports made to APS, 83% involved victims over the age of 60.
Reports of elder abuse can be broken down more specifically by age:
- Ages 60-65 – 14%
- Ages 66-70 – 13%
- Ages 71-75 – 15%
- Ages 76-80 – 14%
- Ages 81-85 – 12%
- Ages 86+ – 15%
Based on data from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, the most common reports of abuse in Illinois are as follows:
- Financial exploitation – 6,269 reports
- Self-neglect – 5,003 reports
- Emotional abuse – 4,517 reports
- Passive neglect – 3,570 reports
- Physical abuse – 2,899 reports
- Willful deprivation – 1,973 reports
- Confinement – 611 reports
- Sexual abuse – 223 reports
You need a nursing home abuse attorney who takes what happened to your parent, grandparent, or other loved one seriously. At Thomas Law Offices, we have the resources, skill, and experience needed to hold negligent and abusive nursing homes responsible for the harm they’ve caused.
Where Does Nursing Home Abuse Happen?
Filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit is not necessarily limited to facilities that are strictly labeled as “nursing homes.” For older adults over the age of 65, there are a variety of residential living facilities made to meet different needs.
- Adult homes
- Enriched housing
- Assisted living programs
- Family-style residential homes
- Continuing care retirement communities
- Rehabilitation centers
- Nursing homes
Every facility provides a different level of care for residents. Whereas a nursing home might be staffed with direct patient care workers (including nurses, therapists, and a variety of support staff) who are highly involved in the day-to-day tasks of residents, adult homes might have limited staff who provide supervision and support only when needed.
Regardless of the type of facility your loved one was living in, if they were injured by a staff member’s abusive or neglectful behavior, they may be entitled to take legal action. Speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer about their legal rights and options today.
The Top 4 Most Common Nursing Home Complaints
Elderly residents of nursing homes may feel unable or unwilling to report abuse that they are suffering at the hands of their caregivers. That’s why it’s important to really listen to what our family members are telling us. Let’s take a look at the top four most common complaints made by nursing home residents:
- Slow response times
- Poor quality food
- Isolation/lack of social interaction
- Poor or inadequate sleep
On the surface, these might seem like surface-level complaints. However, they can sometimes mask much more severe problems, including physical or mental abuse, neglect, financial abuse, sexual abuse, or other acts of harm.
If your family member complains that their calls for help go unanswered or that there is a lack of nutrition or variety in their daily meals, take action right away. Bring your concerns directly to the facility and, if necessary, contact an elder abuse lawyer about you and your family’s legal rights.
What To Do if You Suspect Abuse Is Going On in an Illinois Nursing Home
Family members play an important role in the overall safety of nursing home patients. We recommend that you:
- Regularly visit your loved one
- Drop by unannounced and at varying times
- Observe how the staff interacts with residents
The simple act of being a constant and steady presence in your loved one’s life can sometimes be enough to shield them from acts of physical abuse, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and other harm.
However, if you suspect nursing home abuse is going on in any of Illinois’ many nursing facilities, we urge you to make a report as soon as possible. Reporting your suspicions could save your loved one’s life.
How To Report Nursing Home Abuse in Illinois
To make a report of nursing home negligence or abuse, you can:
- Call the Nursing Home Hotline for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) at 1-800-252-4343 (1-800-547-0466 for teletypewriter services)
- Fax a copy of the complaint form to 217-524-8885
- Call the Illinois Department of Family & Support Services at 1-866-800-1409
You may also speak directly with an Illinois nursing home abuse attorney about your concerns. At Thomas Law Offices, our legal team has the resources and knowledge needed to help launch an investigation into suspected nursing home abuse cases.
Identify and Recognize the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse typically falls under four broad categories:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse/verbal abuse
- Financial abuse
- Sexual abuse
The signs of nursing home abuse often vary based on the type of harm that a victim is suffering, although there is sometimes overlap, especially if a victim is being subjected to multiple types of abuse at once. To be a better advocate for your loved one as they transition to life in a nursing home, we recommend familiarizing yourself with some of the most common signs of elder abuse.
Physical abuse, which involves the physical mistreatment of residents (such as hitting or kicking), can cause:
- Unexplained injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Restraint marks
Although emotional abuse doesn’t involve laying a finger on victims, the impact can still be profound. Victims may show signs such as:
- Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Reluctance to engage in hobbies
- Refusal to speak
Every person deserves to live their final years with grace. Removing their financial stability robs them of this right. You may notice signs of financial abuse, such as:
- Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
- New authorized users on debit or credit cards
- Unexpected changes to wills or other estate planning documents
- Missing items of value
- Checks written to unknown individuals or entities
Sexual abuse can be terrifying and overwhelming for nursing home residents, especially if they have a condition that affects their mental capabilities or ability to consent. Signs and symptoms that a loved one may have been sexually abused include:
- Diagnosis of sexually transmitted disease
- Ripped, torn, or stained undergarments
- Injuries to a resident’s breasts, genitals, or anus
- Presence of blood on underwear
- Depression or anxiety
Every nursing home, rehabilitation center, and residential facility has a responsibility to provide care with dignity, respect, and consideration for those in their care.
Signs of Neglect in Illinois Nursing Homes
Nursing home neglect is a type of elder abuse that occurs when staff members fail to provide basic care that meets the needs of residents.
Examples of neglect that can occur in assisted living facilities include:
- Leaving a nursing home resident with mobility issues alone for long stretches of time
- Administering the incorrect or wrong dosage of a prescription drug (medication errors)
- Withholding food or water
- Failing to provide nutritious meals
- Allowing a resident to remain in soiled clothes or bedding
- Not providing timely medical care or treatment
You can learn to recognize when neglect is going on in nursing homes. Be on the lookout for:
- Poor personal hygiene
- Frequent medication errors
- Dirty surroundings
- Soiled clothes or bed linens
Remember, always trust your instincts if something feels off. Even if you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong, never hesitate to bring your concerns to nursing home staff members.
If you’re not satisfied with their response, contact Thomas Law Offices as soon as possible. We’ll schedule you for a completely free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your rights and options in this situation.
Can a Nursing Home Hire Someone Who’s Been Found Guilty of Abuse in the Past?
No, Illinois nursing homes may not hire staff who have previously been convicted of certain types of abuse. Under § 483.420 of Title 42 – Public Health, residential care facilities “must prohibit the employment of individuals with a conviction or prior employment history of child or client abuse, neglect or mistreatment.”
This law is meant to prevent what is supposed to be a skilled nursing facility from hiring staff that may pose a physical, financial, or emotional threat to patients.
If your loved one suffered abuse because a nursing home hired a nurse practitioner, nurse, cleaner, dietician, physical therapist, rehabilitation specialist, or other staff member with a prior conviction of abuse, the law is on your side.
Are Bedsores a Sign of Elder Abuse?
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, aren’t always a sign of abuse or neglect—but they are always a red flag.
So what are bedsores? According to the Mayo Clinic, bedsores are serious “injuries to skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin.” If left untreated, a bedsore may become infected, leading to serious health complications. Especially severe cases may require surgery or, in extreme cases, amputation.
Those most at risk for developing bedsores are those who are:
- Unable to sense or feel pain
Lying in bed all day, sitting in the same chair for hours at a time, or using a wheelchair can also increase the risk of bedsores. When nursing home staff members fail to move or reposition patients with mobility issues and they develop bedsores as a result, the facility and staff have failed to provide adequate care that is necessary for the health and well-being of those in their charge.
If an elderly family member developed pressure ulcers or bedsores and you believe they were the result of negligent or abusive care, contact our law firm today for a free consultation. We’ll help you take the first steps toward protecting your loved one.
Can You Use a Video Monitoring Device in an Illinois Nursing Home?
The Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Facilities Act (210 ILCS 32/) provides a legal framework for Illinois nursing home residents to use video cameras and other electronic monitoring devices in their rooms.
To monitor a nursing home’s behavior and a resident’s daily life and care, you must:
- Complete and submit a copy of the Electronic Monitoring Notification and Consent Form to the facility
- Obtain permission from any roommates
- Place the device in a visible location
- Place the device in a fixed position (it cannot rotate, oscillate, or otherwise move)
Nursing home facilities are also required to place signs on the doors of residents who use cameras in their rooms, advising that electronic monitoring is being conducted.
The decision to place a camera or use video monitoring in the room of a nursing home resident is highly personal. However, family members who suspect that abuse is going on behind closed doors might feel more comfortable with the presence of a camera.
The presence of a camera might not only prompt staff members to behave in a more appropriate and professional manner with a patient, but any footage of mistreatment that is captured can be used as a basis for nursing home abuse or wrongful death cases.
Work With a Law Office That Cares About Illinois
Thomas Law Offices stands for justice, integrity, and honesty. As a law firm that is centered on our clients and their needs, we prize the attorney-client relationship above all else.
When you work with our nursing home abuse attorneys, you’ll know that you have someone on your side who will:
- Treat you and your family with compassion and respect.
- Investigate all allegations of abuse and neglect to ensure that those responsible are held liable for their actions.
- Fight for the safety of your loved one and other residents.
- Help you understand how nursing home laws protect residents like your loved one.
- Pursue full and fair compensation for your loved one’s losses.
There are many reasons to call Illinois home. But what matters most to us at Thomas Law Offices are the people that make our beautiful state great. We are proud to serve as legal representatives to those we call our neighbors, our friends, and our community.
How Long Do I Have To File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim?
Illinois state law imposes a two-year statute of limitations on nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect cases. This means that you have only two years to meet with a lawyer, conduct an investigation, build a case, and file your claim.
In rare cases, exceptions to the statute of limitations may extend the deadline for filing. This often happens when an act of abuse or resulting injury is not immediately discovered. In such instances, the statute of limitations begins from the date that it should have reasonably been discovered.
Don’t rely on there being an exception in your case, though. If you plan on filing a nursing home abuse or nursing home negligence lawsuit, be sure to meet with a lawyer who understands all state and local statutes that may influence the precise statute of limitations in your case.
Laws Protecting Nursing Home Residents
Both federal and state laws protect nursing home patients.
At the federal level, § 483, subpart B of Title 42 – Public Health provides broad protections to residents of long-term care facilities. This piece of legislation covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:
- Quality of life,
- Quality of services,
- Food and nutrition services,
- Infection control,
- Emergency preparedness, and
- Freedom from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
At a more local level, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45/) provides an additional layer of protection for older adults.
If a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other member of your family was hurt, harmed, exploited, or killed by nursing home misconduct, it is imperative that you work with a lawyer that is knowledgeable in all federal and state laws that apply to your case. If you choose to work with an attorney who is unfamiliar with local Illinois law, you risk missing out on important evidence that could be crucial to your case.
Is It Time To Meet With a Team of Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Illinois?
By the time you’re wondering whether you should contact a law firm of nursing home abuse lawyers, your loved one might have already been subjected to weeks, months, or years of elder abuse. We understand what a difficult and devastating position your family might be in, and we want to help.
The decision to contact a law firm is deeply personal, though, and we want you to feel confident in your choice to speak with Thomas Law Offices. If you’re unsure whether speaking with a nursing home abuse attorney is the right step, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my loved one have extensive injuries or require ongoing medical care?
- Will my loved one need access to financial resources to move to a safer facility?
- Has someone harmed my loved one’s physical, mental, and financial well-being?
- Do I have the knowledge and resources to hold the nursing home responsible on my own?
Ensuring that negligent or abusive nursing homes are held accountable for the harm they’ve caused is not easy. Many of these facilities are for-profit operations, backed by teams of lawyers and big insurance companies.
A skilled nursing home abuse lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can serve as your steadfast guide and legal representative as you seek to hold at-fault parties responsible for their abusive actions.
Illinois’ Aging Population
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), the number of adults aged 65 and older is expected to hit 80 million by the year 2040—21% of our nation’s population.
However, in Illinois, older adults already make up 22% of our state’s population. As our population ages, it’s important that there are laws, regulations, and safeguards in place to protect our elders. That’s why how we handle abuse and neglect in nursing facilities today is so important—if we don’t make things safer now, then the outlook for the future of those we love most will be grim.
That’s why we take nursing home abuse cases seriously. We know what’s at stake, and we aren’t willing to risk the health and safety of even one nursing home resident by giving anything less than our absolute best.
Work With a Law Firm That Fights for Residents of Nursing Homes
We’re more than just a law firm. At Thomas Law Offices, our team of nursing home abuse lawyers is a community of like-minded advocates who want to improve the lives of our elderly residents.
When a nursing home fails to provide adequate care, neglects residents’ needs, and allows abuse to continue unhindered, we’re the attorneys who are prepared to take a stand. We’ll help you and your family navigate the legal complexities of filing a nursing home neglect or abuse claim, and we’ll fight to make sure that your loved one receives every last penny that they are entitled to.
Your actions can help put an end to your loved one’s suffering. To speak with an Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer about your rights under the law, contact us online or by phone. We’ll schedule you for a completely free consultation at your earliest convenience.