Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are obligated to provide residents with the care and resources they need to live a high-quality life. When a facility fails to do so, or staff members are intentionally abusive, harmed residents should be removed from the location, and the facility needs to be held accountable for its negligence. The majority of abuse in nursing homes goes unreported, so if you suspect your loved one is being mistreated, it’s crucial to take action.
At Thomas Law Offices, you can work with an Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer to protect your loved one and take legal action against the facility that harmed them. In order to understand what your options are when it comes to filing a claim or lawsuit, it’s beneficial to have some background knowledge on elder care facilities in Illinois as well as what situations warrant litigation.
Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities in Illinois
According to Medicare, there are over 700 nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation centers in Illinois. While approximately 20 percent of those facilities have a history of being rate as much above-average, another 20 percent have much below-average ratings. Of those with much below-average ratings, the following have been cited for resident harm or potential harm for abuse of neglect:
- Parkshore Estates Nursing & Rehab
- Generations at Lincoln
- Fair Havens Senior Living
- Willow Rose Rehab & Health
- Loft Rehabilitation & Nursing
- Aperion Care Oak Lawn
- Palm Terrace of Mattoon
- Bridge Care Suites
- Timbercreek Rehab & Healthcare Center
- Bloomington Rehabilitation & Hcc
- Royal Oaks Care Center
- Symphony of Orchard Valley
- Atrium Health Care Center
- Briar Place Nursing
- South Suburban Rehab Center
- Piper City Rehab & Living Ctr
- Manor Court of Clinton
- Woodbridge Nursing Pavilion
- Austin Oasis, The
- Sharon Health Care Willows
- Arcadia Care Danville
- Countryside Nursing & Rehab Ctr
- Warren Park Health & Living Ctr
- Southpoint Nursing & Rehab Center
- Gardenview Manor
- Manor Court of Maryville
Some of the most common reasons citations are given are for failing fire safety inspections. Others are for serious health risks to residents or proven instances of abuse or neglect. When a nursing home is cited, a penalty often follows. A penalty can be a fine against the nursing home or a denied payment from Medicare. While Medicare reports penalties at the federal level, you can also search for penalties under state law with the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
Nursing homes are required to obey federal and state laws when it comes to how they operate and provide patient care. In Illinois, nursing home residents are protected under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. That act defines abuse, long-term care facility, neglect, and misappropriation of a resident’s property:
- Abuse refers to “any physical or mental injury or sexual assault inflicted on a resident other than by accidental means in a facility.”
- A long-term care facility is a “private home, institution, building, resident or any other place, whether operated for profit or not, or a county home for the infirm and chronically ill…which provides through its ownership or management, personal care, sheltered care or nursing for three or more persons, not related to the applicant or owner by blood or marriage.”
- Neglect refers to “a facility’s failure to provide, or willful withholding of, adequate treatment, psychiatric rehabilitation, personal care, or assistance with activities of daily living that is necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness of a resident.”
- Misappropriation of a resident’s property is “the deliberate misplacement, exploitation, or wrongful temporary or permanent use of a resident’s belongings or money without the resident’s consent.”
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act also establishes residents’ rights. In Illinois, residents in any type of elder care facility are entitled to the right to remain free from abuse and neglect, manage their own finances, wear their own clothing and keep their personal belongings, be cared for by a doctor of their choice, have access to their own medical records, religious freedom, refuse treatment, be free from restraints, and have visitors, mail, and phones.
When a facility is caught in violation of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, the Illinois Department of Public Health is responsible for enforcing the laws and citing facilities as needed to ensure residents’ safety.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: FAQs
When a family learns their loved one is being or has been abused or neglected at an assisted living facility or another type of elder care home, it can turn their world upside down. There are often many questions, along with anger and sadness. If your loved one has been harmed, an Illinois nursing home attorney from Thomas Law Offices can help to answer your questions and give you guidance on how best to proceed based on the circumstances.
What Are the Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
When a nursing home resident is abused or neglected, the consequences can vary depending on the type of abuse. The most common types of nursing home abuse include the following:
The signs of each type of abuse vary. For example, if your loved one has been physically abused, they may have unexplained injuries like bruises, broken bones, or lacerations. If they are emotionally abused, they may seem depressed or anxious and be unwilling to be left along with staff members.
No matter what type of abuse your loved one has faced, an elder abuse lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help hold the at-fault party responsible for their actions and your loved one’s suffering.
How Are Neglect and Abuse Different?
While you may have heard abuse and neglect used interchangeably, the two words are actually very different concepts. Abuse implies intentional harm, like if a staff member hits, slaps, kicks, or unnecessarily restrain a resident. Neglect is considered unintentional and often results in malnutrition and dehydration, improper medication dosages, accidental falls from lack of supervision, and more. Neglect often occurs when a facility is understaffed, or employees aren’t adequately trained.
How Can I Recognize Signs of Abuse and Neglect?
Depending on the type of abuse your loved one is being subjected to, it can be challenging to recognize signs. If you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring, be on the lookout for sudden injuries, behavioral changes, missing property or valuables, sudden changes to important documents like wills and power of attorney, and problems like dirty clothes or soiled bedsheets. Frequent bed sores may also be a sign that some type of neglect may be occurring.
Who Are the Common Perpetrators of Elder Abuse?
Long-term care facility residents come into contact with a number of people on any given day. They could meet with their doctor, be regularly checked on by nurses and nurse aides, see a physical therapist or counselor, or meet with a dietician. Anyone that works in a nursing home can be a perpetrator of abuse, but nurses, nurse aides, and other support staff are more likely to harm residents because of the amount of time they spend with them.
How Do I Report Abuse in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility?
In Illinois, there are multiple organizations you can report abuse and neglect to, including the Regional Ombudsman, the Senior HelpLine, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Healthcare and Family Services for Supportive Living Facility Complaints, and the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Unit. When you file a report, you’ll need to provide as much information as possible. Depending on the type of report and the severity of any reported injuries, an investigation could take place.
How Do I Take Legal Action Against a Nursing Home?
Once you’ve reported an alleged instance of nursing home abuse, it’s time to get in touch with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. Doing so will put you on the path to holding the facility accountable. While you have the right to file a claim without legal representation, doing so greatly increases the risk of jeopardizing your claim. Your lawyer will explain how to file a claim and will conduct an investigation to determine what happened and why.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Recover Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse?
When you file a nursing home abuse claim against a facility for the harm your loved one incurred, you can seek compensation for losses—both economic and non-economic. Economic losses include medical bills from care needed after the abuse, as well as potential reimbursements for care not rendered properly. Depending on the situation and the abuse or neglect your loved one faced, non-economic damages for pain and suffering may also be available.
Protect Your Loved One With Help From Thomas Law Offices
If you’ve had to remove your loved one from a long-term care facility because of reports of abuse or neglect, you may have grounds to hold the negligent facility accountable for any sustained injuries or economic losses.
When you get in touch with Thomas Law Offices, an Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer can explain your family’s legal rights and options and ensure you receive the legal representation you need to help your loved one recover as fully as possible.
Our attorneys understand the challenges of learning your loved one has been mistreated and we are prepared to help your family file a claim to seek compensation for all economic and non-economic losses. To get started, contact our law office to schedule a free consultation.