Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

The Bronx, New York. 7/23/08. At Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale Jane Gross visits the nursing home where her mother died on the anniversary of her death . this frame: patients watching television, stereotypical view of life at nursing home. slug: nursing homes Id # 30065678A. Photograph by Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times.

Getting older is a fact of life, and for many, nursing homes eventually become their new homes. And while living in a nursing home might be as inevitable as aging, you can take certain measures to ensure that all reasonable safeguards are in place at the nursing home and that you are getting reasonable and adequate care.

Nursing homes in Illinois are regulated by the Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45/1-101, et seq.) and the Illinois Administrative Code (42 CFR §483).  If a nursing home or those who work there violate these regulations and standards causing harm to a resident, then the victim or their family may wish to consider exercising their legal rights.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act defines “abuse” as “any physical or mental injury or sexual assault inflicted on a resident other than that by accidental means in a facility.”  (210 ILCS 45/1-103). “Neglect” is defined as “a failure in a facility to provide adequate medical or personal care or maintenance, which failure results in physical or mental injury to a resident or in the deterioration of a resident’s physical or mental condition.” (210 ILCS 45/1-117).

Unfortunately, nursing home residents are all too often victims of abuse or neglect, and as such, may have meritorious cases against the nursing home. For example, Nursing homes may fail to develop and implement a comprehensive care plan to address the resident’s medical, nursing, mental and psychosocial needs, or fail to take all necessary measures to prevent falls, pressure sores, malnutrition, dehydration, and contractures.

While getting old is a natural part of life, nursing home neglect is not. It is important to understand that bed sores are not a part of the natural aging process. If a resident develops pressure sores at a nursing home, it may be because the nursing home staff did not adequately and reasonably monitor and turn the resident. Additionally, a resident’s significant weight loss while at the nursing home may be a sign of malnutrition and/or dehydration.  Malnutrition and dehydration may also weaken the body and immune system, which makes it even harder to prevent or heal bed sores.  Finally, it goes without saying that not all falls that occur at a nursing home are “accidental.”

Recently, the Law Office of Jeffrey Friedman, P.C. represented the estate of an elderly woman who died as a result of alleged nursing home neglect.  The neglect consisted of malnutrition, dehydration, failure to treat and prevent bed sores, failure to treat and prevent contractures, and failure to reasonably and timely implement tube feeding.  Our office negotiated a confidential settlement with the nursing home on behalf of the family.

If you believe that you or a loved one are or have been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, please feel free to call our office at 312-357-1431 for a free consultation.

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