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Lake County Medical Malpractice Lawyers

As medical technology makes it possible for Americans to live longer lives every year, more and more individuals and their families turn to long-term care facilities to provide assisted living and on-site medical care during their later decades. These long-term care facilities are frequently known as nursing homes and can house disabled and injured individuals alongside the elderly.

You might be one of the thousands of Illinois residents who have had to face the decision to move an elderly parent or other relative into this type of facility. This process can be stressful for everybody involved and might cause you to have doubts about your decision and the conditions in your loved one's new home. Reports of neglect and abuse in nursing homes throughout Illinois and the rest of the nation might cause you to wonder if your relative is safe and what you can do if he or she sustains harm.

Elder abuse is a problem in America's nursing homes. Although groups like the National Center on Elder Abuse do their best to collect and report accurate statistics about these issues, data is hard to collect because so many cases of abuse in nursing homes go unreported. If you notice any type of abuse or neglect in your relative's nursing home, contact the local law enforcement and the long-term care ombudsman program. Impress the importance of reporting all problems upon your relative, as well. He or she might be reluctant to report problems in the facility.

Injuries and Abuse in Illinois Nursing Homes

In many cases, nursing home abuse and neglect cases are classified as medical malpractice. The following are all types of neglect and abuse that occur in long-term care facilities and can lead to serious injuries for their victims:

  • Neglect. Neglect is defined as the failure to adequately meet a resident's medical, social, mental, or emotional needs.
  • Physical abuse. Any type of rough handling, hitting, shoving, pushing or other physical contact is physical abuse and can lead to serious injuries.
  • Emotional abuse. Failure to meet a resident's emotional needs is emotional abuse. Intimidation, criticism, and manipulation are all forms of emotional abuse.
  • Overmedication. Giving an individual a larger dose of his or her medication than his or her doctor prescribed can have significant consequences for the patient's health.
  • Sexual abuse. Any molestation, rape, or other unwelcome sexual contact is sexual abuse.
  • Dehydration and malnutrition. Failure to provide adequate quantities of clean water and nutritious food can cause dehydration and malnutrition in nursing home residents. This can lead to significant health problems.
  • Financial exploitation. Outright stealing money from residents as well as defrauding them of their money or possessions is financial exploitation.

Laws to Protect Illinois Nursing Home Residents and Their Families

Two different laws were recently enacted to protect nursing home residents and their families in Illinois.

The Nursing Home Care Act allows individuals to submit their reports of issues in nursing homes electronically to the Illinois Department of Public Health. It ensures that all nursing home residents retain all of their basic civil rights upon moving into the facility and requires that the resident and his or her spouse must be informed of spousal impoverishment rights.

The other law, the Illinois Act on Aging, works in conjunction with the federal Older Americans Act to create the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. This program helps nursing home residents and their families by creating a network of advocates for their support.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The term “ombudsman” is taken from Swedish and refers to a representative appointed to investigate individual’s complaints and work to correct them. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in Illinois works with nursing home residents and workers to address their complaints and fix the issues they have with their care. Individuals in this program are required to keep all residents' names and complaints confidential and seek to resolve problems within facilities, rather than bringing in outside authorities.

Seek Help For Your Nursing Home Complaint

If you or your relative suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect, you might be able to file a medical malpractice claim and claim monetary compensation. This compensation can cover all expenses incurred through the injuries sustained by the abuse, such as:

  • Medical bills;
  • Lifestyle adaptations due to a temporary or permanent disability;
  • Aches and pains related to the injury; and
  • Compensation for a wrongful death. This can cover the loss of the victim's companionship, potential inheritance, and the funeral bills.

In 2008, 3.2 million Americans resided in nursing homes and other permanent care facilities. More than 100,000 Illinois residents live in the state's 1,200 facilities. Abuse in these homes is a problem in our state and our nation.

Contact our team of experienced Illinois medical malpractice attorneys to receive expert legal advice for your nursing home neglect case. At Salvi & Maher, L.L.C., we put our clients' needs first.

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