The Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at Dwyer & Coogan, P.C., are committed to helping victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We are here to help victims and their families better understand their rights under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and pursue justice for the harm done to them. Learn more about your rights under these laws and how our team is prepared to help you uphold those rights in the face of adversity.
The Purpose of the Nursing Home Care Act
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, 210 ILCS 45 came into force in 2011 in response to growing reports of abuse in long-term care facilities across the state. This act builds off of the state’s original set of protective laws, which were established in 1987 in response to the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (OBRA 1987). The 1987 act established a series of guidelines, rules, and minimum requirements of care that nursing homes must abide by to keep residents safe. The act also established a resident’s bill of rights.
The 2011 act contains additional measures, including:
- Establishing a certain level of skill and training that nurses and all other staff must possess
- Building upon the enforcement of powers of regulatory agencies
- Providing residents and loved ones of residents with policing powers to ensure that long-term care facilities are meeting the minimum requirements of care
The Illinois Nursing Home Car Act does not just apply to nursing home and long-term care facilities. It also applies to hospitals, childcare facilities, assisted living facilities, and establishments operated by the federal or state governments.
Residents’ Rights Under the Nursing Home Care Act
The broadest purpose of the Nursing Home Care Act is to grant every nursing home resident the right to be free from abuse and neglect. However, because abuse and neglect can take many forms, the act establishes additional and more specific protections and rights. Some of those protections include:
- The right to manage one’s own finances, with the right to grant permission should the nursing home request to spend any money on a resident’s behalf
- The right to wear one’s own clothes and use one’s own property in his or her living quarters—unless there is a medical reason for prohibiting either or
- The right to clothing that fits properly and to adequate storage and security for personal belongings and valuables, as well as access to that property
- The right to use one’s own physician and the right to one’s own medical records
- The right to participate in one’s own medical care and to refuse treatment when able
- The right to rescreening when admitted to a facility for a serious mental illness
- The right to respect and privacy in a medical care facility
- The right to not be given any drugs unnecessarily
- The right to be free of restraints, either chemical or physical
- The right to private communications and visits
- The right to see an attorney or social worker when the purpose of the visit is to advise one of his or her rights or for representing an individual
- The right to be discharged whenever requested
- The right to present grievances
Steps To Take When You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect that a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, there are certain steps you should take immediately to protect your loved one from additional harms. First and foremost, however, it is important that you remain calm. Approach the nursing home staff and management to discuss your concerns and address each of your suspicions. The nursing home should be willing and able to discuss your concerns and provide an explanation for any of your misgivings. If you are not satisfied with its answers, it may be time to take a more formal approach.
You should also speak privately with your loved one. If your loved one seems closed off, out of sorts, angry, or “different” in any way, report the possible abuse and/or consult with an experienced lawyer. Your attorney may advise you to visit more often, take notes, and question the nursing home staff. If there are obvious signs of abuse, such as bruises, broken bones, missing money, and the like, contact the police right away.
Get Help With Your Case
The best thing you can do if you suspect nursing home abuse is to contact an experienced lawyer. Our team at Dwyer & Coogan, P.C. is prepared to help you investigate the issue and fight for justice on the victim’s behalf.
Contact us today to set up a free initial consultation.