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Schwartz Injury Law

312-535-4625

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

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysIf you have a relative in a nursing home, you probably worry about him or her often. You may wonder if your loved one is receiving the compassionate treatment and competent medical attention he or she deserves. Nursing home staff must balance keeping a resident safe and well-cared for with maximizing the resident’s independence and autonomy. Illinois law prohibits the unreasonable physical or chemical restraint of a nursing home resident.  

Physical Restraints Include Anything that Limits a Resident’s Movement

Nursing home residents deserve to have as much freedom as possible. However, safety concerns often prevent staff from giving unlimited autonomy to certain residents – particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments. Residents who are not monitored may elope from the facility or become seriously injured by dangers in the facility. Nevertheless, physically restraining residents is seldom an acceptable solution. Physical restraints can include ties, vests, sheets that are very tightly tucked in, or other mechanisms that limit a resident’s movement.

When Can Restraints Be Lawfully Used?

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act describes the specific circumstances under which a resident may be physically restrained. Physical restraints may only be used when absolutely necessary to protect the resident’s safety. Furthermore, restraints may only be used for short periods. A medical professional must order the use of the restraint and document the justification for the restraint in the resident’s medical records. The resident’s guardian must also give consent for the restraint. Under no circumstances may restraints be used for staff convenience or to punish a resident.

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Chicago nursing home neglect and abuse attorneysNursing homes should be places of refuge for elderly and disabled individuals. Sadly, some nursing home residents suffer from neglect or even intentional maltreatment. A nursing home injury claim may allow an injured victim or the victim’s family to hold the liable party accountable for the neglect or abuse. A nursing home injury claim may also allow for the recovery of damages. Compensation for medical treatment, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages may be available. However, in order to bring a nursing home injury claim, the liable party must be identified.

The Nursing Home Facility is Often the Liable Party

The party that is legally responsible for an injury or death is called the liable party. In many nursing home injury claims, the liable party is the nursing facility itself. Nursing homes have a legal obligation to provide competent care and assistance to residents. The following issues are examples of ways that nursing homes may be in violation of that obligation:

  • Failing to perform background checks on staff or other negligent hiring practices
  • Failing to properly supervise staff
  • Failing to maintain adequate staff numbers
  • Lack of medical care
  • Medical mistakes including medication errors
  • Failure to provide adequate assistance with daily living activities
  • Insufficient sanitation of the facility
  • Failing to maintain a safe facility
  • Failing to provide adequate security measures
  • Intentional abuse of residents

Even if an individual staff member is the cause of nursing home neglect and abuse, the claim is typically brought against the facility that the staff is employed by.

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Illinois nursing home injury attorneysAlzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect an estimated 50 million individuals across the globe. Nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may struggle to form memories, solve problems, and accurately interpret the world around them. Some sufferers become confused or even combative with other residents or nursing home staff. If your loved one suffers from dementia and is living in a nursing home, it is important to know some of the unique issues he or she may face. Nursing home staff should take special care to ensure the safety of residents with dementia. Failure to do so may result in the resident’s injury or death.

Wandering and Elopement

Nursing home residents who suffer from cognitive impairment due to dementia or a related illness are at an especially high risk of wandering and elopement. A confused resident may wander into a dangerous part of the facility and be seriously hurt as a consequence. Some residents even attempt to flee the facility or mistake the exit for an interior door. Tragically, some residents have died after eloping from nursing home facilities and succumbing to the elements.

Physical Abuse and Sexual Abuse

Nursing homes should be places of refuge for elderly and disabled residents. Sadly, some residents are victims of physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse. Residents with cognitive impairment brought on by illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease are often especially vulnerable to this type of malicious treatment. Perpetrators may target these residents because they know that the residents will struggle to report the abuse. They may even assume that if the residents did report the abuse, that no one would believe them.

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Chicago nursing home fractures attorneyOne of the hardest parts of having a loved one in a nursing home is that you cannot always be present to monitor the quality of care your loved one is receiving. You may worry about the safety standards at your loved one’s nursing home or wonder how often they are understaffed. You may see horrific news stories depicting physical or sexual abuse of nursing home residents and fear the same thing happening to your loved one. When your loved one suffers a broken bone, you may wonder, “Are fractures a sign of nursing home neglect or abuse?”

Cause of Resident Broken Bones and Fractures

Falling becomes a greater and greater hazard the more we age. Disabilities that impair mobility or vision and injuries to the feet can further increase the risk of falling. The CDC reports that one out of every five fall accidents results in a serious injury. Broken bones are a common result of nursing home fall accidents. Not every fall is a product of nursing home negligence or wrongdoing of some kind. However, there are many ways in which nursing home negligence may lead to a fall accident, including:

  • Negligent supervision or failure to properly watch staff for signs that they need help
  • Environmental Hazards such as cluttered walkways or loose electrical cords that present a slip and fall or trip and fall risk
  • Inadequate safety measures including lack of handrails, grab bars, and sufficient lighting
  • Inadequate staff training including insufficient training on how to safely transfer a patient in and out of bed or a wheelchair
  • Improper use of sedatives or psychiatric medication
  • Medication mistakes including administering too much or too little medication

Falls are not the only causes of broken bones and fractures in nursing home residents, but they are, by far, the most common. Falling may also be caused by:

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Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysIf you or your loved one were harmed by substandard care at a nursing home, you may be able to bring a civil action against the facility. A nursing home lawsuit may enable you to pursue justice for the maltreatment and seek financial compensation for damages. Substandard medical care, neglect, and intentional abuse may lead to a nursing home lawsuit. A personal injury attorney experienced in nursing home negligence and abuse cases can file a claim on your behalf and represent you throughout your case.

Do All Nursing Home Injury Claims Go to Trial?

If you are like most people, you probably do not know much about what a civil claim against a medical facility entails. You may even assume that all nursing home injury claims result in a courtroom trial. In reality, only a small percentage of nursing home negligence claims end up going to trial. Most are settled during out-of-court negotiations. A nursing home injury attorney can negotiate with the nursing home’s legal team on your behalf and fight for a satisfactory settlement.

What Do I Need to Prove to Be Successful?

There are several types of nursing home claims. The most common is a claim that alleges negligence on the part of the nursing home facility or staff. To win a negligence-based claim, you will need to show that:

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