legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Illinois Nursing Home Injury Settlements
In 2017, Illinois police officials determined that as many as 25% of all elder abuse cases taking place in nursing homes across the state went completely unreported. Auditors were able to determine the disparity using investigative data analysis techniques, searching emergency room reports for tell-tale signs of abuse – particularly sexual abuse. This alarming discovery at the lack of reporting across hospitals reinforces the importance of knowing how to look for and recognize signs of elder abuse.Types of Abuse and Neglect Found in Illinois Nursing Homes
Nursing home abuse in Illinois can unfortunately take many forms. A recent study from the University of Illinois at Chicago compared not-for-profit and for-profit nursing homes, and found a shocking amount of neglect cases at the for-profit facilities – everything from medication mismanagement to dehydration to severe bedsores.
- Physical Abuse
This term applies to any nursing home staff member, employee, or other caregiver engaging in any type of physical hitting, slapping, striking, or excessive force.
- Sexual Abuse
All nursing homes have a legal obligation to thoroughly investigate all employees and caregivers. If an individual has a history of sexual assault, aggressive sexual behavior, or any other indication that he or she may attempt to sexually victimize a nursing home resident, the nursing home should not hire the individual or allow him or her contact with potential victims. In a recent Chicago lawsuit , a stroke and dementia patient was humiliated and abused by caregivers, who mocked him and forced him to remove his pants and expose his genitals to them.
- Falling Injuries
Nursing home caregivers must regularly move and reposition patients. If nursing home staff fail to get help or use necessary lifting equipment to lift or move a patient, the patient may fall and suffer serious injuries.
- Medication Errors
Elderly individuals often require one or more prescription medications to manage ongoing medical issues common in older adults. Nursing homes and other care facilities must ensure proper dosages and require staff members who administer medication to carefully check each patient’s doctor’s orders to account for drug allergies, dangerous interactions, and prevent other errors. Medication errors can easily lead to an accidental death. A 2015 Cook County lawsuit alleges a nurse sedated patients to lighten her workload, resulting in the death of one patient.
- Wrongful Death
Any sudden or unexplained death of an elderly individual should be cause for concern; the deceased’s family should plan to fully investigate the death and determine if any type of abuse or neglect was a contributing factor.
Many elderly patients must remain in bed or in wheelchairs for significant amounts of time each day. Nursing home staff must regularly reposition them or lift them to ensure they do not develop pressure ulcers or bedsores.
Illinois state law requires anyone with knowledge of elder abuse to report it immediately under the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act. This law also offers civil protection to anyone who reports elder abuse in good faith, ensuring he or she does not face professional disciplinary action for reporting. Illinois also accepts anonymous reports. Some of the most common signs of elder abuse and neglect include:
- Repeat falls
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Injuries from wandering
- Sudden, explained death
Ultimately, there are several factors that influence the value of any nursing home case. The Illinois Adult Protective Services Act clearly defines the different types of elder abuse and possible penalties, but recovery depends on the damages involved in a case. A nursing home lawsuit may also help set a precedent that affects the nursing home industry at large, offering better protection for other nursing home residents all over the country.
Some of the factors that go into determining the value of a nursing home abuse or neglect case include the cost of related medical expenses, the pain and suffering of the victim and his or her family, any disfigurement or disability resulting from the abuse, and more. The victim’s family may also qualify for survivor benefits in the event of a wrongful death and recover lost income from time spent caring for an abused or neglected loved one.
If you believe your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in an Illinois nursing home, contact us today and we can help determine if your case allows recovery under Illinois law. You can also report your complaints to the Illinois Department of Public Health.