Group Home Abuse Lawyer
Group homes (adult foster care or personal care homes) are an alternative to larger assisted care facilities for older adults or people with developmental disabilities. The concept of these nursing homes seems noble, offering a more "home-like" atmosphere with fewer residents.
Unfortunately, these smaller versions of long-term care facilities can be run by individuals who are more concerned with their profits than providing the care they must provide.
The law firm of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people who have been abused and neglected in a transitional home setting. If your loved one has suffered abuse, a severe injury, or wrongful death, contact our group home neglect lawyers for a free consultation and review of the circumstances involving the harm.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys are fully committed to holding Adult Residential Facility operators and management companies accountable when a disabled person is injured at their facility. Contact our Chicago law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) for a free case review of your legal rights for a civil claim under Illinois law.
Illinois Group Home Regulation
Group homes provide a residential living environment for a small group of people with similar issues. For example, these homes could house elderly persons, those with developmental disabilities, individuals with chemical dependency issues, or anyone who needs daily living support.
Many medical facilities have inadequate staffing to ensure that the residents' needs are being met. In addition, group home residents are often subjected to emotional abuse when staff neglects their meals and personal hygiene.
One issue with adult residential facilities for the elderly or disabled is the limited regulation that these smaller group homes receive. Although they must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health and should adhere to similar rules as large commercial long-term care facilities, these homes may only have a few residents, making them less likely to get the same amount of scrutiny.
There may only be one or two people working at the group home in a small residential transitional home, making it easy for abuse or neglect to happen and not get reported.
Group Homes and the Developmentally Disabled
Many group homes provide care and services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to encourage participation in a community. The individual member at a group home is often encouraged, when possible, to establish relationships, interact with peers, develop social skills, and develop interests through participation and communication.
Intellectually and developmentally disabled adults deserve a home that provides protection, safety, independence, security, and a sense of comfort. Additionally, residents of group homes should be treated with dignity, care, and respect at all times, free from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect.
For years, the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, has followed congressional requests to audit group homes nationwide where residents experience severe injuries and preventable medical conditions requiring emergency room visits.
The Office of Inspector General investigation found that up to "99% of these critical incidents were not reported to the appropriate law enforcement or state agencies, as required."
Abuse of Disabled People in Group Home Environments
Some small adult residential facilities are owned or staffed with workers who are abusive toward their residents. Group home employees can use their power and position to commit atrocities against those they are paid to provide care.
In elder abuse cases, the residents feel powerless to safeguard themselves from their abusers and seek help from authorities for protection. Some of the types of nursing home neglect and abuse that may happen at the facility include:
- Physical abuse - Residents of Adult Residential Facilities may be subjected to physical abuse such as being struck, restrained, or even cut or burned.
- Emotional abuse - The group home staff can be verbally abusive and controlling, causing emotional abuse and pain. In addition, nursing home residents can become withdrawn and depressed due to the poor treatment they endure.
- Malnourishment and Dehydration - The staff may fail to adequately nourish and hydrate the resident, leading to serious health issues, including kidney and organ problems.
- Home neglect - The nursing home staff could fail to provide any service or medical care necessary for the patient to maintain a quality of life or optimal medical health. The group home doctor could harm the patient through medical malpractice. The nurses administering drugs might harm the resident through medication errors.
- Sexual abuse - Sexual predatorsare drawn to working at nursing home facilities like transitional homes where victims are easily accessible with little supervision and are vulnerable due to age or mental disability. As a result, the working staff, visitors, or other residents would sexually abuse the victim.
- Financial abuse - Residents living in assisted living facilities could become victims of financial abuse by their health care providers. Caregivers have been accused of stealing checks, credit cards, and even the resident's identity.
The Nursing Home Care Act protects residents against group home abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, not all staff members follow federal and state laws, resulting in severe personal injury and wrongful death.
Many cases of abuse in Illinois nursing homes go unreported, where the victim lives in fear of retaliation or cannot speak up to protect themselves. In addition, elder abuse violates the patient's civil rights to live without mistreatment.
Sexual Assault at Substance Abuse Group Home
Private and public sober living homes are available to individuals recovering from an addiction. Many privately owned homes are operated by businesses and organizations, typically in a quiet location, ensuring a peaceful environment for people in early recovery.
The staff operates these homes much differently than a rehabilitation center, which usually focuses on intense recovery experiences, providing the resident's much less freedom. Alternatively, a sober living home usually offers independence where the person recovering from addiction can come and go as they please so long as they follow specific house rules.
Unfortunately, sometimes people are abused in sober living group homes. For example, in February 2018, the Washington Post reported that a drug rehabilitation owner/operator was convicted of sexually assaulting seven female patients receiving care at the group home.
Christopher Bathum owned and operated luxury sober living group homes at approximately 20 Colorado and Southern California facilities. Many of the residents were young, vulnerable females suffering from addiction that created an opportunity for sexual and financial abuse.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office stated that the justice system convicted 56-year-old Bathum of sexually assaulting seven women on 31 counts, including rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, and sexual exploitation.
The prosecutor stated that the group home operator preyed upon the women between 2014 and 2016 when they were in their 20s and early 30s. Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller of Los Angeles County stated that "they were easy targets" for Bathum. "They were perfect victims."
Although the courts acquitted Bathum on several counts of sexual exploitation and offering methamphetamine, a controlled substance, he faces up to 65 years of incarceration.
Stopping Group Home Abuse in Illinois
It is up to family members and friends to protect their loved ones from emotional, sexual, or physical abuse by watching for signs and proactively visiting group home residents.
Relying on government officials to catch these abusers is unrealistic as some group residential homes are run without the proper licensing and fall under the radar or, even if licensed, are rarely inspected. However, family members should be aware of any physical signs of abuse, changes in behavior, or suspicious circumstances surrounding financial accounts.
Group home abuse, like all caregiver abuse, can be devastating to both the victim and their families. Abusers deserve not only to be punished but also should be held liable for the damage they cause to their victims, financially, emotionally, and physically.
Sample Illinois Group Home Abuse Lawsuits & Settlements
$400,000 Illinois Settlement; Adult Residential Group Home Abuse Lawsuit
A middle-aged man moved into the adult residential facility for assistance with brain injuries and paralysis acquired at birth. He needed around-the-clock care and support.
The working staff's substandard care led to his developed bedsores (pressure sores, pressure wounds, decubitus ulcers) at six areas on his body. After the pressure sores had become infected, the resident underwent surgical procedures to prevent bedsores from degrading into a life-threatening condition.
The staff discharged the resident from the facility to return home to live with his family. Upon his return, the family sought legal advice and brought legal action against the group home on the victim's behalf.
The plaintiffs allege that the Illinois group home was negligent in providing care of the man and should be held responsible for the damages that resulted. These harms included his severe injuries, scarring, medical expenses, and future suffering.
The plaintiffs accepted the owners of the group home negotiated offer of $400,000 in an out-of-court settlement to resolve the case.
Not Yet Resolved - Lawsuit Alleges Abuse and Malpractice at Illinois Group Home
A female victim residing in a central Illinois group home suffered from multiple physical and mental problems, requiring the support and care of professionals. Court documents filed by the victim's attorney argued that a group home staff member sexually molested and abused the woman.
The lawsuit states that the woman acquired a sexually transmitted disease from the horrific event. However, reports differ on the frequency of occurrences of the alleged abuse.
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the facility also injured the victim through medical malpractice, stating that the facility staff negligently placed a feeding tube down her throat. That error led to significant injury and hospital bills.
This case is not yet been settled through a negotiated agreement or litigated at trial. However, the woman's attorneys seek compensation to pay for their physical injury, emotional trauma, medical expenses, and other damages.
Not Yet Resolved - Case Filed in Illinois After Man Kills Roommate in Adult Residential Group Home
The thirty-year-old was residing in a facility near Chicago, Illinois receiving care for his mental disabilities acquired at birth. He and his group home roommate (who weighed twice as much as he did) got into an altercation.
Reports are unclear as to how the confrontation started or if the smaller victim could not fight back at all. He passed away almost one week after the incident from injuries sustained during the skirmish. Medical officials listed his cause of death as compressional asphyxia.
After a police investigation, officials listed the victim's death as a homicide. Attorneys on his behalf filed a lawsuit seeking compensation through the civil court that is yet to be resolved. The complaint seeks damages for negligence and wrongful death.
The plaintiffs' lawyers state facility staff and administration failed in their duty to provide a safe environment for the resident.
Group Home Abuse FAQs
Our law firm knows that many families have unanswered questions in dealing directly with group home abuse, physical violence, sexual abuse, and other preventable serious injuries. A group home abuse lawyer has answered some of those questions below.
For additional information, call our law office at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to discuss the legal process. Our law firm could work on your behalf with law enforcement if your loved one suffered physical violence, abuse, and neglect at the hands of their caregivers, other residents, or visitors.
How Do You Report Neglect in a Group Home?
You can report every incident, accident, or injury occurring in any licensed health facility, including group homes, to the Illinois Department of Public Health at (800) 252-4343 or (800) 226-0768, 24/7. Also, you can notify law enforcement, the local police department, and the local long-term care home ombudsman.
Who Regulates Group Homes?
The Illinois Department of Human Services (800) 843-6154 is responsible for regulating group homes under the Department of Children and Family Services. All group homes must be licensed by the state and staffed with employees who have passed the required qualifications and training.
In many cases, residential group facilities specialize in providing unique services, like individualized care for adults with developmental disabilities, dementia, memory loss, or other conditions that might not improve over the years. In addition, these professional caregivers are typically trained to provide immediate attention to people who require specialized care in all situations.
How Do Group Homes Work?
The nursing staff provides residents of group homes prescribed therapies and twenty-four hours of supervision, and a home-like atmosphere. Typically, smaller homes have ten or fewer residents, unlike big corporate facilities that provide services to hundreds of patients.
These homes are typically staffed with professional nurses and nurse's aides. These caregivers are required to perform hard work to meet the needs of all residents and protect them from neglect, abuse, or injury caused by a preventable event, like a slip and fall accident.
Are Group Homes Safer for Adults With Disabilities Than Assisted-Living Facilities?
Adults with disabilities often require specialized care, preferably provided in an emotionally, mentally, and physically safe atmosphere. The ideal location will have adequately trained staff, follow safety procedures, provide ongoing medical care, supervise activities, offer healthy meals, and provide inclusion for family involvement.
When selecting the ideal location, consider all of the amenities above, and ensure that safety remains the top priority. Then, visit the facility unannounced during odd hours of the day and watch the staff, employees, other residents, and visitors while spending time with your loved one.
What Is a Children's Group Home?
While many children enter the family foster program, others are placed in alternative settings like children group homes that typically house up to a dozen children. These homes provide their young residents access to community resources, including education, health care, recreational opportunities, and sometimes jobs.
These children's homes typically provide specialized attention where caregivers' high level of compassion is necessary to ensure that the resident is protected at all times. In addition, these caregivers are typically highly knowledgeable and sympathetic to the child's needs.
Get Legal Help From Illinois Group Home Abuse Attorneys Headquartered in Chicago
Operators of Illinois group homes have a legal responsibility to keep their residents safe and free from abuse and injury. When episodes of mistreatment occur, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC stands ready to prosecute these cases on behalf of minors, disabled, and other vulnerable people.
Call our nursing home negligence attorneys now at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. All our discussions will remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Your Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer will review your case, provide immediate legal advice, and discuss options on how to resolve your nursing home abuse case.
Our Chicago, IL law firm accepts all personal injury cases through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement ensures that no fees are paid until resolving the case through a negotiated settlement or jury award.
We follow the Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) social distancing rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- US HHS Office of Inspector General – Group Home Investigation Findings
- OIG ACL Joint Report – Safety and Group Homes Infographic
- Washington Post – Group Home Owner Convicted of Sexual Assault
Many injured victims have already resolved their million-dollar group home abuse case through their personal injury lawyers. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 for a positive outcome involving your compensation case.
We currently represent clients throughout the United States, Illinois, and in the following localities: Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Winnebago County, Peoria County, Chicago, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Elgin, Naperville, Orland Park, Schaumburg, and Springfield.