Surprise Visits to Nursing Homes can Uncover Abuse, Neglect and Medical Malpractice
When clients ask me when is the best time to visit a nursing home resident, I always respond that all the times are good times. I say that because nursing home personnel are aware when family or loved ones visit a nursing home resident at regular hours. So the best time is to come at different times on different days of the week to know that the resident is well-cared for at all times. Often times, Illinois state officials will conduct a “surprise visit” to a nursing home in order inspect the level of patient and resident care. Many times these visits give rise to the unpleasant revelations that residents are not well-cared for. In fact, these surprise visits reveal many violations of Illinois law and federal regulations.
Some visits by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are initiated because a family member has reported neglect. In cases where a resident is not being cared for properly, it is appropriate to call the IDPH and relay the issues that are evident by complaints made by the resident or just simply obvious because of the indifference shown or because of errors made in care. The telephone number is 800-252-4343.
Illinois nursing homes have a duty to the residents to keep the facility safe and to provide adequate care as directed by the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, which was first adopted in 1979 and by federal regulations.
Most legal claims against nursing homes fall under the categories of abuse, neglect or medical negligence. The precise definition of nursing home abuse according to 42 C.F.R. §488.301, is “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish.”
Neglect is different than abuse. Abuse implies that someone has taken an action that was intended to cause harm to a nursing resident. Neglect is different because it can be by inaction or indifference that also leads to injury to a resident. Negligence can be tied to an individual nurse for example or the facility’s administrator and its management.
Medical negligence cases do occur in a nursing home setting because healthcare providers and physicians are an integral part of a nursing home environment. Medical negligence occurs where the medical care provided to residents is below the standard of care and causes injury to a resident.
To this end, the surprise visits are important because abuse, neglect and medical malpractice may be lost because the facility is able to conceal these problems or they simply go unnoticed. The more often a visitor drops by to see a nursing home resident the better it is. These surprise visits are revealing because abuse, neglect and malpractice may show up and be noticed. To reduce the risk of abuse, neglect and injury to a resident, make it your habit to visit often and at different times and days. Also, be proactive by asking lots of questions about care. Be observant too. All of this will help reduce the chance that a loved one will suffer unnecessarily at a nursing home facility.
If you or a loved one has been abused, injured or died as a result of nursing home abuse, neglect of malpractice, contact Kreisman Law Offices.
Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago and Illinois nursing home abuse cases for more than 40 years. Kreisman Law Offices has prevailed in trials and settlements in Chicago, Illinois and surrounding communities and has successfully resolved cases for those injured or abused in nursing homes for these many years.
With our years of experience in trying and settling nursing home abuse cases, Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients and have achieved unsurpassed results. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online.