legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
As the U.S. population ages, substandard care and poor treatment of residents in nursing facilities continues to be a largely hidden problem in our society. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), more than three million Americans reside in skilled nursing facilities, with nearly a million more in some sort of assisted living facility. Nearly one in three of these homes fails to meet federal standards for safety and quality of care.
While the actual prevalence abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities remains unknown, experts believe it to be quite pervasive. NCEA and the Centers for Disease Control have concluded that due to challenges involved in gathering accurate data and deficiencies with state reporting, the vast majority of abuse nationwide likely goes unreported.
If you suspect your loved is one being abused or neglected in an Illinois nursing home, you should contact an experienced Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer to get help in investigating your concerns today.
Elder Abuse and Neglect in IllinoisSadly, Illinois nursing facilities are not an exception to the national trend. People with loved ones in Illinois nursing homes need to be conscious of the abuse and neglect that often occur in these facilities, so they can make sure their elder family members are being properly cared for.
A survey by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that 252, or 35 percent, of the state’s homes had serious violations and deficiencies that rank them lower than the national average. The study found that over 37 percent of Illinois nursing facilities failed to maintain required professional standards under federal law. More than 14 percent used restraints on patients in an illegal manner.
You do not want your loved one to become part of these statistics. If your loved one has suffered from severe neglect in an Illinois nursing home, you should get in touch with an Illinois nursing home abuse attorney today. We encourage you to contact the Illinois nursing home negligence lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center for a free initial case evaluation. Our team will investigate your report and if necessary, get started in filing a lawsuit against a responsible party for your loved one’s injuries.
Federal Regulations Governing Nursing Home CareThe U.S. Congress has enacted several laws designed to protect vulnerable elderly patients, which apply to all long-term care facilities in the United States.
- The Nursing Home Reform Act was passed in 1987 to establish basic standards of care for nursing residents, as well as set forth fundamental rights. These include, among others, the right to be free from abuse, mistreatment and neglect; to be granted privacy; to be treated with dignity; and to make certain decisions.
- The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program created a network of advocates for residents in each state who investigate and attempt to resolve specific complaints involving abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a resident.
- The Nursing Home Care Act outlines certain rights granted to Illinois nursing home residents, which include the right to manage one’s own financial affairs, to use one’s own personal property, to be offered respect and privacy, to be free of physical and chemical restraints, and to be protected from unlawful discrimination.
- The Adult Protective Services Act defines “neglect” as a caregiver’s failure to provide an elderly person with the necessities of life, which include food, clothing, shelter, health care and more. If an employee suspects that a resident is the victim of abuse, neglect, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, psychological harm, financial exploitation, sexual abuse or self-neglect, then he or she has a legal duty to report the abuse to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- The Illinois Act on the Aging outlines the services that must be provided to older adults in nursing facilities. They must receive assistance with bathing, grooming, toileting, nail care, respiratory services, exercise, and positioning. In addition, they must receive at least three meals a day, routine housekeeping services, personal laundry and linen services, assistance with daily living activities, medication management, and money management. A nursing facility must also provide 24-hour security for its elderly residents.
If Illinois nursing facilities fail to meet the standards set forth in any of these laws, family members should speak with an Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer about possible courses of action.Illinois Elder Neglect Lawyers Serve Victims of Bed Sores, Falls, and Medication ErrorsThe staff at a nursing facility is responsible for providing every patient a professional level of care at all times, and when they deviate from that standard it can result in numerous health hazards. Following are some of the most common and preventable consequences of neglect or abuse. in Illinois and nationwide, which can all lead to potentially life-threatening injury:
- Pressure sores. Physically disabled or immobile patients may be prone to developing pressure sores (also known as bed sores and pressure ulcers) in areas of the body where the patient’s own weight on a mattress or wheelchair goes unrelieved for an extended period. If not treated promptly, these sores can rapidly progress to a painful open wound, predisposing the patient to bacteria that can enter the body and infect vital organs.In some situations, the complications related to pressure sores may be fatal.
- Falls. Elderly patients are at risk of sustaining serious injuries from falling as a result of the aging process, which may be aggravated by medical conditions affecting bone density, motor function, or balance. Falls are the leading cause of death among patients over the age of 65. Elderly people in a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation center are at greater risk for falls than are elderly persons living on their own.
- Medication errors are usually the result of systematic neglect or inattention. Patients are often placed on increasingly more medications as they age. This raises the chances they will experience an adverse drug interaction or be injured by a medication error. Their caregiver may administer medications at the wrong times or frequency, or the doctor may prescribe drugs without verifying their safety.
- Deliberate abuse. As much as we don’t like to think about it, elderly nursing home residents are uniquely susceptible to abuse of all kinds. They are dependent, vulnerable, and incapable of fighting back. Their victimizers may be caregivers, fellow residents, or visitors. Many victims remain silent out of embarrassment or fear, so it is important to recognize the signs of abuse in order to protect those you hold dear.
When a patient develops a bed sore, it is usually because nursing staff were not attending to their needs. Given the fact that pressure sores are easily preventable with proper care, most cases can be traced to negligent care on behalf of a staff member.
A comprehensive discussion of Illinois bed sore settlements and verdicts is here.
Nursing care facilities need to ensure the risk of falls is not compounded by neglect and disregard for safety. Lack of adequate supervision, environmental hazards such as wet floors, and failure to properly assist a patient getting in and out of a bed or wheelchair are common causes of serious falls in nursing homes. Elderly patients rely on staff to help them safely move from place to place. Patients are most often dropped during routine daily transfers, a consequence of overworked or poorly trained staff not following safety protocol or using bad judgment.
Patients may sustain bone fractures, brain damage, and other internal injuries as a result of these falls. Our home abuse lawyers have found that these injuries can impair the victims’ quality of life in their final years.
While the resulting injuries are usually not serious, some patients can suffer catastrophic harm simply because those responsible for their care failed to do their due diligence. There should be a multi-layered system in place to prevent these errors. Our nursing home lawyers examine the chain of responsibility to determine where things went wrong and which parties along the way failed to prevent the wrong medication or dose from being administered to the patient.
According to a 2010 national study reported by NCEA, over 50 percent of nursing staff admitted to inflicting the following types of abuse: physical violence, mental abuse, or neglect on patients within the prior year, with neglect accounting for two-thirds of those incidents.If your loved one has suffered from any of these forms of abuse or neglect, the nursing home injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center LLC are committed to protecting your family’s legal rights when it comes to holding facilities responsible for their inattention and neglect. Our office has an impressive track record in holding medical facilities accountable for a patient’s pressure sore, fall, or medication error.
The most commonly complained of abuse in nursing facilities is physical abuse by staff, followed by resident-on-resident incidents and psychological abuse. If your loved one is physically or sexually assaulted by an employee with a history of abusive treatment toward patients, the facility can be held liable for the employee’s actions.
When You Should Pursue a Wrongful Death ActionIn recent years, the Illinois court system has seen a significant increase in wrongful death lawsuits involving injuries sustained by nursing home patients. Preventable death from an infected bed sore, fall, or other product of negligence occurs when residents are not properly cared for. Many victims of nursing home neglect are vulnerable individuals who are unable to complain to anyone about the improper healthcare they are receiving. In many cases, the patient suffers severe pain and discomfort before their demise.
No patient should ever die from a preventable injury. When negligence is involved, the surviving family members are entitled to take legal action including filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible facility. A successful lawsuit often results in a monetary award at trial or settlement out of court.
If you believe your family member died as a result of the negligent acts of staff members, contact the home abuse attorneys at the NHLC today for a free case review.
The Signs of Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect to Watch out forThe signs of abuse and neglect are sometimes subtle. Family members of Illinois nursing home residents should always try to be vigilant about spotting these signs to make it easier to promptly report issues and get legal help. Some signs of neglect and cases of elder abuse are:
- Unchanged bed sheets
- Unwashed clothing
- Spoiled food
- Bruises and scratches
- Depression or anxiety
- Financial exploitation
- Reports of sexual assault
- Broken bones and other physical injuries
- Crying or emotional outbursts
If your loved one is a victim of elder abuse at an Illinois facility, we invite you to consult with attorney Jonathan Rosenfeld. Mr. Rosenfeld licensed in Illinois and has experience prosecuting cases across the state. A free consultation can be arranged at any location, but Mr. Rosenfeld's office address is 225 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1760, Chicago, Illinois 60610.
As with all state and federal laws, the laws can change rapidly as lawmakers continually tinker with the system. Therefore, I strongly urge you to consult with a lawyer, to discuss your legal options before taking any legal action.
- Number of Nursing Homes: 783
- Statute Of Limitations: 2 years
- Damage Caps: None
- Applicable State Laws: Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45), Elder Abuse and Neglect Act – (320 ILCS 20)
- Illinois Nursing Home News: The Illinois Supreme Court will soon be rendering an opinion whether the family of a deceased nursing patient is entitled to punitive damages under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Presently, there is ambiguity as to the applicability of The Act in cases where a patients death was related to willful and wanton conduct on the part of the nursing facilities.
- The Illinois Nursing Home Act & Resident Rights
- Chicago Nursing Homes Not Making The Grade
- Illinois Nursing Home Settles Lawsuit Involving Multiple Falls Of Resident
A person with a cause of action against an Illinois nursing home has 2 years from the date of the event to bring a suit for personal injury (735 ILCS §5/13-202) or wrongful death (740 ILCS §180/2). In the case of violent intentional conduct, the deadline to file for wrongful death is 5 years.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice is also 2 years from the date the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered (735 ILCS §5/13-212).
There are no punitive damages allowed in medical malpractice cases, but otherwise there is no cap on damages that may be awarded (735 ILCS §5/2-115).Illinois Nursing Home Negligence Settlement Information
Our attorneys have compiled data from reported settlements and jury verdicts from across Illinois to give you an idea of what your case may be worth in a civil law context. We have broken down these cases according to case type and patient injury. Learn more about these Illinois lawsuit settlements and verdicts below: