Illinois Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys
Placing a loved one in an Illinois nursing home is often a last resort for a family who are unable to provide round-the-clock care for an aging parent. Entrusting your family member’s well-being to a group of professionals requires a great deal of confidence in the medical and nursing staff who will be looking after their health, and most families hope that a nursing facility will provide them with a decent quality of life. They never expect to learn that their loved one has suffered abuse or neglect after admittance to a nursing home.
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 nursing homes, 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 of nursing home abuse and neglect 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 and neglect attorney to get help in investigating your concerns today.Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Illinois
Sadly, 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 nursing homes had serious violations and deficiencies that rank them lower than the national average. The study found that over 37 percent of Illinois nursing homes 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 abuse or 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 abuse and neglect attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center for a free initial case evaluation. Our nursing home lawyers will investigate your report and if necessary, get started in filing a lawsuit against those responsible for your loved one’s injuries.Federal Laws Governing Nursing Home Care
The 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 home 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 nursing home residents in each state who investigate and attempt to resolve specific complaints involving abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a resident.
Several Illinois laws govern nursing home standards and the care that patients receive in nursing homes:
- 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 a nursing home employee suspects that a resident is the victim of abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, 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 residents in nursing homes. 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 home facility must also provide 24-hour security.
If Illinois nursing home 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 Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Serve Victims of Bed Sores, Falls, and Medication Errors
The 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 in nursing homes in Illinois and nationwide, which can all lead to potentially life-threatening injury:
Pressure sores. Physically disabled or immobile patients in nursing homes in Illinois 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.
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 training, most cases can be traced to staff negligence.
A comprehensive discussion of Illinois bed sore settlements and verdicts is here.
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. Residents of nursing homes are at greater risk for falls than are elderly persons living on their own.
Nursing care facilities need to ensure the risk of falls is not compounded by negligence 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. Immobile patients rely on staff to help them safely move from place to place. Nursing home 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 nursing home negligence lawyers have found that these injuries can impair the victims’ quality of life in their final years.
Medication errors are usually the result of systematic negligence 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.
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 injury 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.
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.
According to a 2010 national study reported by NCEA, over 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to inflicting physical violence, mental abuse, or neglect on patients within the prior year, with neglect accounting for two-thirds of those incidents. The most commonly complained of abuse in nursing homes 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.
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. We can help you recover damages for medical expenses or special care associated with the injury, pain caused by the injury, or wrongful death if a patient dies from related complications. Contact our office for a free review of your case with an Illinois lawyer who can advise you of your legal options.When You Should Pursue a Wrongful Death Action
In 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 nursing home staff, contact the attorneys at the Nursing Home Law Center today for a free case review.The Signs of Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect To Watch Out For
The 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 abuse are:
- Unchanged bed sheets
- Unwashed clothing
- Spoiled food
- Bruises and scratches
- Depression or anxiety
- Broken bones and other physical injuries
- Crying or emotional outbursts
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, it is urgent that you do something about it. Call an Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer today to find out if you have a case. Our attorneys handle elder abuse matters involving nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout Illinois, including the following major cities:
An Illinois nursing home attorney at Nursing Home Law Center will aggressively pursue your case and fight for the compensation that your loved one deserves. Call us any time to discuss your situation with a lawyer who has experience with these matters.Statutes of Limitations and Damages in Illinois Nursing Home Negligence Actions
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 nursing home lawsuit settlements below: