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Illinois Nursing Home Regulations

Published on Sep 23, 2022 at 4:52 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

nursing home

Illinois nursing home regulations exist to keep older and vulnerable adults residing in nursing homes safe, healthy, and protected from harm. Our state government has established a comprehensive system of laws to protect care facility residents, recognizing that nursing home abuse and neglect is a very real and serious problem.  

Thomas Law Offices in Chicago, IL devotes an area of practice to fighting against nursing homes that abuse residents’ rights and violate state regulations. Our personal injury law firm holds negligent institutions accountable for the behaviors that endanger the lives of our elder populations.  

If you or an older adult you know was abused or neglected in a Chicago nursing home, contact Thomas Law Offices for knowledgeable and compassionate legal guidance. We have years of experience defending the rights of older adults in Illinois. We are ready to help your family achieve justice.     

Types of State Regulations Nursing Homes Must Follow 

All nursing homes in the state must follow the Illinois Code for assistive and long-term care facilities. This detailed set of regulations governs a wide array of aspects related to nursing home care, including: 

  • Licensing 
  • Ownership
  • Resident admissions and discharge policies 
  • Contracts between residents and facilities 
  • Recordkeeping 
  • Residents’ legal rights 
  • Employee background checks 
  • Staff-to-resident ratios 
  • Emergency preparedness 
  • Medical care 
  • Prescription medication policies 
  • The use of physical restraints 
  • Infection prevention 
  • Care and treatment of sexual assault survivors 
  • Specialized dementia care 
  • Activities programs 
  • Vaccinations 
  • Resident hygiene care 
  • Sterilization of equipment 
  • Facilities upkeep and maintenance 
  • Laundry and housekeeping 
  • Meal planning, diets, and kitchen equipment 
  • Water, sewage, and plumbing 
  • Penalties for violations 
  • And many more 

The Illinois state law that nursing homes must adhere to is a lengthy and highly detailed set of documents. It is understandable that not every nursing home resident and their family have a consummate understanding of the legal minutiae. That is why we as nursing home abuse lawyers work diligently to ensure residents are protected, cared for, and able to exercise the full scope of their legal rights.  

Violating even one of these Illinois nursing home regulations can put a resident’s life in danger. Many vulnerable adults residing in long-term care facilities require round-the-clock care and focused medical attention. When nursing home administration or staff breaks the law, it can have fatal consequences.  

In our experience advocating for nursing home residents in the Chicagoland area, we have found there are a few categories of Illinois nursing home regulations that are most frequently violated and result in resident injury.  

We will take a closer look at the state codes regulating:  

  • The rights of nursing home residents  
  • Personal care for residents  
  • Facility maintenance  
  • Regulations concerning nursing home abuse and neglect  

Remember that this is not a complete list of all the rights and privileges guaranteed to nursing home residents under Illinois law. If you believe your loved one’s rights may have been abused, contact our office to speak with an experienced attorney.  

Nursing Home Residents’ Rights 

Illinois nursing home regulations grant residents the following rights:  

  • Nursing home residents have the same rights and privileges all individuals are guaranteed under the federal and Illinois state constitutions 
  • Residents may keep all their own clothes, belongings, and other personal property unless it is in some way detrimental to their health 
  • Any clothing provided by the facility must fit properly 
  • The facility must provide adequate storage space for the resident’s belongings 
  • The facility must provide a place to secure small valuable items where the resident can easily access them 
  • The facility must make all reasonable efforts to prevent residents’ property from being lost or stolen 
  • The facility should have procedures in place for investigating complaints of property theft 
  • Married couples are allowed to live in the same room unless there is a medical reason they should live separately 
  • There should never be foot traffic through a resident’s room to get to another area 
  • Employees’ children under the age of 16 should be restricted to employee areas unless part of a group activity 
  • A resident may never be forced to perform labor for the facility 
  • Residents are free to exercise their religion 
  • Facilities must comply with the Election Code as it pertains to absentee voting for nursing home residents  
  • If a resident’s health condition changes, they pass away, or it appears that death may be imminent, the family or representative must be notified immediately 
  • If there is an emergency the facility cannot or will not fix, a resident or their family/representative may file a petition with the county court 
  • A resident may be given an identification wristlet if a physician believes one is needed 
  • Residents must have access to the support and care they need 
  • Every facility must ensure that residents are not subjected to physical, verbal, sexual, or psychological abuse, neglect, exploitation, or misappropriation of property   

Nursing and Personal Care for Residents 

Nursing homes must meet certain standards when providing personal care to residents. A failure to do so is an instance of neglect. Resident care must meet these Illinois nursing home regulations: 

  • Working with the resident and their guardian or representative, the nursing home must develop and implement a comprehensive care plan that meets the resident’s medical, mental, and social needs and allows them the highest level of independent functioning 
  • Every staff member who interacts with the resident must be aware of and follow the care plan 
  • The facility must do everything in its power to help residents achieve and maintain their maximum physical, mental, and psychological wellbeing 
  • A licensed nurse with the necessary training and certifications must be on hand to provide care to residents 
  • Nursing care must be provided 24/7 in accordance with the resident’s needs 
  • All nursing staff should help residents with limited mobility move and participate in activities, so they do not experience decreased range of motion 
  • Patients with bowel or bladder issues should be specially tended to by nursing staff, so they do not develop infections or a worsening health condition 
  • Nursing personnel should encourage and assist residents in daily activities like bathing, dressing, grooming, walking, eating, communicating, using a bathroom, and other activities as much as the resident is capable 
  • If a resident is unable to perform the duties themselves, nursing staff members must assist with tasks to maintain good nutrition, grooming, and personal hygiene 
  • Nursing staff must be on hand to assist residents with moving and transfer (such as from a wheelchair to a bed) as much as the resident requires while encouraging them to maintain their highest level of mobility 
  • Nursing staff must observe residents, notice any changes in their condition, and evaluate and treat conditions as needed 
  • Proper personal care must include bathing at least weekly or more frequently, and clean skin, hair, nails, and oral hygiene 
  • Every resident must have clean, comfortable, sanitary, and temperature-appropriate clothing 
  • Bed linens must be changed at least once a week and more frequently as needed 
  • Staff must work to prevent pressure ulcers (bed sores), heat rashes, and other skin conditions 
  • Residents’ environments must remain as free from accident hazards as possible   

Facility Maintenance 

The condition of the facility itself can pose a serious threat to residents if Illinois nursing home regulations are not followed to the letter. Violating facility maintenance regulations can result in dangerous premises, causing a slip and fall, elopement, or other serious accidents.  

  • A maintenance plan that includes sufficient staff, appropriate equipment, and adequate supplies must be in place 
  • Electrical equipment must be safe and in good working order 
  • Electrical wires should not pose a trip or electrocution hazard 
  • Interior and exterior conditions need to be clean, safe, and present no dangers to residents
  • Premises should be free from cracks in floors, walls, or ceilings, peeling wallpaper or paint, warped or loose boards, warped, broken, loose, or cracked floor coverings, loose handrails or railings, or loose or broken windowpanes 
  • There should be clean furniture in good working order 
  • Grounds must be free from debris, litter, garbage, and insect or rodent infestations 
  • There must be sanitary water, sewer, and plumbing system in good working order 
  • Electrical, mechanical, heating, fire protection, and other systems must be in a safe, clean, and functioning condition, and must undergo regular inspections 

Abuse and Neglect in Long-Term Care Facilities 

Nursing home abuse and neglect is not just wrong, it is illegal. The nursing home abuse and neglect regulations listed below are in place to combat the epidemic of abuse plaguing our nation’s elderly. If you ever notice a sign that may be indicative of abuse or neglect in an Illinois nursing home, report it as soon as possible to authorities.  

  • No staff member or other person associated with the facility may abuse or neglect a resident 
  • If a staff member becomes aware of abuse or neglect, they must report it immediately 
  • If there is credible evidence that a staff member may have abused a resident, the accused must be barred from contact with the resident during the investigation period 
  • If there is credible evidence that a resident is committing abuse against another resident, the accused must be evaluated immediately to determine the most suitable therapy and placement, considering the safety of everyone 
  • A resident may not be recorded or photographed without their consent, and the facility must immediately report any nonconsensual recording if it is discovered 
  • Any abuse or neglect must be reported as specified in the Illinois Abused and Neglected Long Term Care Facility Residents Reporting Act 

Get the Help of an Attorney After Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect  

Any form of abuse or neglect committed in a Chicago care facility violates Illinois nursing home regulations.  

Without having a full and in-depth understanding of the legal requirements for nursing homes in Illinois, it is impossible to properly hold a facility accountable for wrongful behaviors. If you or your loved one was subjected to abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact Thomas Law Offices today. We will use our legal expertise to defend your rights, protect your future, and make our Chicago nursing homes safer and better places for everyone. 

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Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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