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Illinois Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is a protective statute for the thousands of the elderly and infirm Illinois individual who are residing in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. In the United States today there are more than a million individuals who reside in nursing homes. In Illinois, the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services oversees the safety processes in place for residents of nursing homes. Any violations are investigated and fines are assessed to nursing homes when violations occur.

The thousands of Illinois individuals who are residents of nursing homes are vulnerable to injury, other illnesses and death. These persons are many times helpless, vulnerable and dependent on the nursing home personnel, including staff, nurses, doctors who round through nursing homes and others who are assigned to take care of the personal needs of each individual nursing home resident. The business of nursing homes must be to provide skilled nursing care for the elderly, the infirm and disabled nursing home residents.

There is no question that the quality of care in Illinois nursing homes has declined over the last decade. There are many reasons that the quality of care has been recessive. Certainly, one of the reasons that nursing homes are known to have slipped in the quality of care is because the number of residents has dramatically increased. The Baby Boomers population, once the largest segment of the US population, have aged and are now more than ever a large portion of the population are residing in Illinois nursing homes.

Recent studies on nursing home care show that residents and nursing homes suffer abuse and neglect more frequently at the hands of nursing home corporations. There are too many cases of nursing home residents who have died or have been abused and neglected.

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that nursing home resident abuse is a growing problem. Not all nursing home abuse cases involve physical abuse. Some cases of abuse are psychological, sexual or financial.

Physical abuse in nursing homes is identifiable by the condition of the resident. For example, signs of abuse by way of striking, hitting, pushing, shoving, pinching or even burning a resident show up by way of bruises, lacerations and marks obvious on the person’s body. There is also a possibility for bone fractures, skull fractures, brain injuries, open wounds, internal injuries, broken eyeglasses, missing dentures, signs of punishment or signs of restraint, evidence of medication overdose, signs of alterations in the mental state, depression, changes in behavior and caregiver's refusal to permit visits by relatives, loved ones and friends.

Sexual abuse occurs often times where residents are disabled and unable to give consent to unwanted touching, sexual assault or battery, even rape, sodomy and other sexually abusive behavior. The abusers can be other residents, nursing home personnel, even other visiting relatives of other residents.

Emotional or psychological abuse occurs when the infliction of anguish, pain or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts occurs. The signs and symptoms of such emotional or psychological abuse may be evident by the resident's behavior, emotional upset or agitation, withdrawal, non-communicative or non-responsive behavior.

Perhaps most common of nursing home abuse and neglect cases are the failings of nursing home personnel in taking care of residents in need. Neglect may be evident in some of the following ways:

  • Malnutrition;
  • Untreated or unnoticed bedsores;
  • Poor hygiene;
  • Untreated or unattended health issues;
  • Unsafe conditions in the resident's living space such as lack of a "call button" in the case of an emergency;
  • Poor ventilation;
  • Heating and air conditioning problems; and
  • Lack of hot and cold fresh water.

Unclean living conditions may include soiled bedding, unclean living units and reports of a resident, a relative or a loved one reporting mistreatment by personnel or another resident.

It is critically important that families and loved ones of nursing home residents take an active role in visitations and reporting of any incident that in any way harms or mistreats a nursing home resident. Too often residents are ignored because family and love ones have not regularly visited the nursing home resident. The more a resident of a nursing home in Illinois is visited, the more likely that person will receive adequate care.

For any family that is considering placing a family member, a loved one or a friend in an Illinois nursing home, it is important to review the ratings of the very detailed website, www.Medicare.gov and search for the nursing homes that are possible choices. One will find ratings on staffing, investigative reports, penalties and general overall ratings. This website has an abundance of information on all or most Chicago area and Illinois nursing homes.

If you or a family member has been injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another at an Illinois nursing home, rehabilitation center or long-term care facility, Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices is prepared to handle your case. Robert Kreisman has more than 40 years of experience handling Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect jury trials.

With our years of experience in trying and settling nursing injury cases, Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients and has achieved unsurpassed results. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at (312) 346-0045 or toll free at (800) 583-8002 for a free and immediate consultation or complete a contact form online on our website.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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