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What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?

 Posted on May 03, 2023 in Nursing Home Abuse

Cook County Nursing Home Injury AttorneyWhen an individual suffers age-related cognitive decline or significant illness, he or she may require round-the-clock care in a nursing home. Living in a nursing home inevitably leads to a loss of independence. For example, an elderly person who has lost his eyesight may no longer have a valid driver’s license or be able to drive. An individual with advanced Alzheimer's disease may not be permitted to walk around the grounds of the nursing home facility alone because she could get lost.

However, nursing home residents still have important rights that are protected by state and federal law. In this blog, we will discuss some of the most important rights afforded to nursing home residents and what you can do if you believe that your loved one’s rights have been violated.

Rights Protected by the U.S. Constitution

Nursing home residents have all of the rights afforded to U.S. citizens. This includes the right to practice their chosen religion, the right to free speech, and the right to be free from discrimination. Nursing home facilities must provide equal access to care regardless of a nursing home resident’s medical condition, race, income level, or gender.

Rights Protected by the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act contains many essential protections for nursing home residents. According to the Act, residents have the right to refuse medical treatment, access their medical records, wear their own clothes, keep their personal belongings in their room, and meet with visitors.

This legislation also prohibits the use of physical or chemical restraints except in rare cases. A nursing home can only restrain a resident if it is medically necessary, it is the least restrictive form of restraint possible, and the resident or the resident’s guardian gives consent.

The Right to Be Free from Abuse or Neglect

Most importantly, nursing home residents have the right to be free from abuse or neglect. Nursing home facilities must provide medical care and assistance with daily tasks such as bathing and meals, and take reasonable precautions to prevent residents from being injured or falling ill.

Nursing home abuse and neglect encompasses a wide range of actions. It may involve:

  • Failure to provide appropriate medical care

  • Medication mistakes, including missed doses or administering the wrong medication

  • Lack of assistance with daily living tasks

  • Failure to prevent bedsores or infections

  • Physical abuse of residents, including hitting, pinching, dropping, or kicking a resident

  • Sexual abuse of residents

  • Failure to recognize and appropriately respond to medical emergencies

  • Failure to prevent wandering and elopement

Contact our Chicago Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer

If you or a loved one were neglected or abused in in Illinois nursing home, contact Schwartz Injury Law to discuss your legal options. You may be able to hold the nursing home accountable and recover compensation for damages. Call our Cook County nursing home injury attorneys at 312-535-4625 for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how we can help you.


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