Schwartz Injury Law

312-535-4625

60 W. Randolph Street, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60601

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Illinois nursing home injury attorneysNursing home residents deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. Whether they need help with managing medical conditions or daily living tasks, nursing home staff have a moral responsibility and a legal obligation to provide the assistance they need. Federal and state laws set the standards nursing homes must meet as well as the rights nursing home residents must be afforded. 

In Illinois, the Nursing Home Care Act governs the rights that nursing home residents have by law. If a nursing home violates these important resident rights, the facility may face civil claims and other legal consequences.

Nursing Home Resident Rights in Illinois

Illinois adopted the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (NHCA) after serious concerns about residents’ safety and wellbeing were voiced. The legislation contains a resident “bill of rights” that gives residents the right to:

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IL nursing home lawyerIf you have ever moved your parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other loved one into a nursing home facility, you know just how tough it can be. Leaving a family member in the care of a nursing home means trusting the staff at the facility to provide your loved one with the compassionate daily care and medical attention he or she needs. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and other legislation requires nursing homes to provide a certain degree of quality medical and basic needs care. Unfortunately, staffing issues often lead to substandard care, neglect, and even abuse.

Understaffing Can Lead to Insufficient Supervision and Other Dangerous Neglect

One issue that Illinois nursing homes and facilities across the country have dealt with for years is understaffing. Numerous studies have shown that many nursing homes are chronically understaffed. A study that analyzed over 14,000 nursing homes showed that staffing also fluctuated dramatically from day-to-day. When there are not enough staff to adequately supervise residents, the risk of dangerous wandering and elopement increases substantially. Understaffing may also lead to missed medication, dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores, and a host of other problems.

Inadequate Staff Training Can Cause Needless Suffering

Another issue in many nursing homes is inadequate staff training. A nursing home staff member needs to know how to safely move residents from their beds to their wheelchairs, dispense medication, help residents who have trouble eating or toileting, and much more. When staff are not properly trained, they may make mistakes that lead to significant resident injury or even death. The families of residents who are injured or killed as a result of insufficient staff training or understaffing may bring personal injury claims or wrongful death lawsuits against the facility.

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IL nursing home abuse lawyerThere are approximately 1.2 million people living in nursing homes across the United States. Residents may live in a nursing home facility because they need help with daily tasks such as eating and bathing or because they have long-term medical needs that cannot be met through other means. A significant percentage of nursing home residents suffer from physical or mental disabilities that significantly reduce their level of personal independence. They, therefore, must count on the nursing home staff to keep them as healthy as safe as possible.

Tragically, some nursing home residents are not treated with the compassionate assistance and competent medical care they deserve. If you or your loved one were the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, you may wish to bring a personal injury claim against the facility. In order for your claim to be successful, you will need to show evidence of the nursing home’s wrongdoing.

Elements in a Nursing Home Injury Claim

To hold a negligent nursing home accountable and recover financial compensation through a nursing home injury lawsuit, you and your attorney will need to prove that:

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IL abuse attorneyWhen we think of nursing home abuse, we typically think of abuse at the hands of the nursing home staff. However, vulnerable nursing home residents are also at risk of being harmed by other residents. A nursing home resident may attack another resident due to malevolence, or, much more commonly, because he or she suffers from a cognitive illness that makes him or her confused, angry, and afraid. If your loved one was physically harmed or sexually assaulted by another resident while living in a nursing home, you may wonder what your legal options are. In some cases, a nursing home may be liable for resident injuries or deaths caused by the actions of another resident. A nursing home injury claim may enable you to hold the nursing home responsible for its negligence as well as recover compensation.

Nursing Home Staff Have a Duty to Prevent Resident-On-Resident Violence

Nurses, nurse’s aides, and other nursing home workers have a legal obligation to prevent foreseeable resident injuries. Although not every resident injury can be prevented, nursing home staff must make the facility as safe as possible. This includes adequately supervising residents. If a resident has a history of lashing out physically at staff, residents, or visitors, staff should carefully monitor his or her behavior. If a resident shows signs of aggression that may develop into violence toward other residents, he or she should be removed from the situation and given time to cool off. Many instances of resident-on-resident violence are the result of understaffing and inadequate staff training. Nursing home staff may fail to address violence or resident injuries caused by violence because they are too busy with other tasks. Examples of nursing home negligence such as these are in violation of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and other legislation.

Damages in a Nursing Home Injury Claim Involving Injuries Caused by Another Resident

The term “damages” is used to refer to the financial compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a personal injury claim. Often, nursing home injury claims are brought on behalf of the resident by a child or other loved one. Through a nursing home injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for your loved one’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and mental anguish caused by the attack. If your loved one died in an incident involving resident-on-resident violence, you may also be entitled to compensation for your own losses.

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IL abuse lawyerNursing home abuse and neglect are tragically commonplace in Illinois and across the United States. It is difficult to know for sure the exact number of nursing home residents who are victims of abuse because many residents are unable to report the mistreatment they suffer. However, in one study, 44 percent of nursing home residents surveyed reported being abused while living in the facility. If you have a loved one living in a rehabilitation facility, assisted living facility, or nursing home, it is important to be vigilant for signs of abuse and neglect.

Physical Abuse Can Leave Physical and Mental Scars

It is hard to imagine someone hitting, pinching, kicking, or otherwise intentionally harming an elderly or disabled person, but physical abuse does happen in some long-term care facilities. Some nursing home staff become frustrated or angry when residents do not comply with orders or are otherwise obstinate. They may intentionally hurt the resident as a form of “punishment.” Unexplained bruises, lacerations, or other signs of trauma, as well as psychological symptoms like fear and anxiety, may be signs that a resident is begin physically assaulted. In some cases, the perpetrators of physical abuse are other residents at the facility.

Mental or Psychological Abuse Can Be Just as Harmful as Physical Abuse

Psychological, emotional, or mental abuse can be just as damaging to a resident’s wellbeing as physical violence. Examples of emotional abuse include mocking a resident, intentionally scaring a resident, embarrassing a resident, disallowing reasonable privacy, and other actions intended to demoralize or upset a resident. Recognizing mental abuse can often be tricky. Residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other cognitive illnesses may become confused and accuse innocent staff of abusive or threatening behavior. However, it is essential to fully investigate any claim of mistreatment.

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