Nursing Home Abuse And Alzheimer’s Residents: Protection Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act was created to protect the rights of nursing home residents and combat Illinios nursing home abuse. In order to ensure a high standard of care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, the Act requires that each individual providing care to a patient with dementia undergoes proper “training in the care and treatment of such residents”.
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that affects over 5 million people throughout the U.S. This tragic disease destroys brain cells and affects the memory, behavior, and thinking processes of those with the disease. The nature of the symptoms, which can range from verbal outbursts, violent tendencies, or hallucinations, health care professionals must be patient and understanding when caring for patients with Alzheimer’s.
However, too often we hear about nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s who receive substandard care and come to harm because of a lack of understanding regarding their disease. Take for example the case of 87 year-old Melanie, a nursing home resident suffering from the Alzheimer’s disease. One day she became increasingly aggressive and the employees called for nursing assistance to assess the situation. But no one answered the repeated calls for assistance over the next several hours.
When Melanie’s Alzheimer’s made her so aggressive that the employees were unable to calm her down or control her a nursing home employee finally resorted to calling the local police. They reported that Melanie was extremely aggressive and threatening. The police arrived at the nursing home and subdued Melanie by handcuffing her. None of this would have been necessary had the nursing staff stepped in and diffused Melanie’s outburst. Instead the police had to step in and bring this 87 year-old woman to the hospital to receive treatment.

When Melanie returned to the nursing home her family noticed bruises on her head and wrists. The relatives of other nursing home residents who had witnessed the scene reported that the police did not simply handcuff Melanie, but had pushed her face down on the floor. Outraged, Melanie’s family removed her from the nursing home facility that was unable to properly handle her Alzheimer’s and placed her in a new residence. There were no further run-ins with the police at this new residence.
And immediately after removing their mother from the nursing home, Melanie’s family sued the nursing home for negligence and breach of contract under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Melanie’s family argued that the nursing home staff was not properly trained and negligently responded to Melanie’s Alzheimer’s symptoms, which caused the situation to escalate to an emergency.
The case of Melanie is very typical of nursing home abuse cases that we at Kreisman Law Offices have reviewed and handled over the years. Too often the nursing home resident is unaware of the lack of attention because of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses. When family members are not close at hand, these abuses of neglect become all the more critical.
Kreisman Law Offices has been practicing Illinois nursing abuse law for over 30 years in Chicago and Cook County, including Calumet City, Hoffman Estates, Oak Forest, and Worth.
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