The Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are committed to protecting the legal rights of patients who have been neglected, injured or abused during an admission to a skilled nursing facility. We are committed to holding negligent facilities accountable to the fullest extent of the law in Illinois.
If you are looking for experienced nursing home law firm to investigate and prosecute an accident or injury case involving an Illinois nursing home, contact our office today for a complimentary case review of your legal rights and litigation options.
Our Nursing Home Attorneys See Abusive Conditions Chicago and Across Illinois
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is not a term created by attorneys to grab headlines. Nursing home abuse is real. Most disturbingly, it is an unfortunate fact of life for many of the 100,000+ patients in Illinois who are reliant on the care of nursing homes for their basic living and medical needs.
There currently are 723 licensed nursing homes in Illinois. A disappointing 41.5% of them are deemed to be below average according to Medicare data. The statewide numbers are similar in the Chicagoland area with 77 of the areas 186 nursing homes rated as below average. Our nursing home attorneys have reviewed all inspection data from Medicare and the Illinois Department of Public heath and compiled information on each facility. View our facility look-up here.
Injuries & Medical Complications Arising in Chicago Nursing Home Negligence Cases
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has experience prosecuting a diverse portfolio of circumstances involving patient injury and untimely death in a skilled nursing facility. Amongst the cases we’ve successfully prosecuting include some of the following scenarios which may be categorized as nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect.
- Bed Sores: Bed sores, also referred to as pressure sores, pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers result from patients being left in one position for extended periods of time. Advanced stage bed sores can result in pain, infection (sepsis / osteomyelitis) or and even death.
- Falls: 10-20% of patients falls in nursing homes result in an injury requiring medical attention. Many falls result in broken bones, subdural hematoma or even death. Nursing homes have a duty to assess each patient’s fall risk and implement safeguards to prevent falls. When facilities fail to do so and a patient is injured, the facility may be liable.
- Fractures: A fractured bone in an elderly person is not only painful but has a significant impact on their quality of life. Significant fractures to major bones such as legs and hips may require surgery with extensive rehabilitation.
- Choking: Many nursing home patients have difficulty swallowing known as dysphagia. Nursing homes have a responsibility to asses patients for swallowing. When facilities fail to do so, patients can choke on food. Another swallowing complication is aspiration pneumonia, when food or liquids enter the lungs.
- Dehydration: A leading cause of the elder abuse is when nursing home patients do not receive the fluids needed to maintain their physical well-being. It is the responsibility of nursing home staff to monitor fluid intake and output to avoid dehydration which can lead to overall decline and even organ failure.
- Malnutrition: When nursing home staff neglect the nutritional needs of patients, the lack of nutrients can result in weight loss which can ultimately lead to a variety of medical complications and decline in the quality of life. In order to avoid malnutrition, nursing homes must conduct regular assessments of patients including weigh-ins.
- Dropped Patients: When a nursing home patient is dropped by a staff member during a transfer or from a Hoyer lift, the facility is likely responsible for not following transfer protocol. Dropped patients may suffer from a fractured bone or even death.
- Elopement: Also referred to as wandering, elopement cases involving a patient leaving the safety of the facility without the knowledge of the staff. Most elopement cases involve dementia or Alzheimer’s patients. When a patient is injured as a result of an elopement, the nursing home can be held accountable in court.
- Sexual Assault: Disturbingly little information is known about sexual assaults in nursing homes. What we do know is that these cases frequently involve disabled patients who are unable to verbally communicate the extent of their injuries. Signs may include visual distress, withdrawal, sexually transmitted disease, bloody to torn underwear or clothing.
- Medication Errors: Staff in nursing homes are frequently responsible for distributing many different medications to different patients. This is frequently done via a cart that runs up and down the halls. When patients receive the wrong dose or wrong medication and sustain an injury, the facility is responsible.
- Infections: Unsanitary conditions or advanced stage pressure sores, can contribute to systemic infections or sepsis. These conditions can be life-threatening when left untreated or medical attention is delayed.
- Unexpected Death: When a loved one suddenly dies during an admission to a nursing home there may be cause for concern. This may lead to questions and an investigation into the circumstances by the family or regulatory agencies. If the death is causally related to negligence on the part of a facility, the family may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Skilled Nursing Corporations Putting Profitability Over Patient Care
There are currently 1.4 million people living in approximately 15,600 nursing homes across the United States. As the population ages, this number is expected to grow substantially in the coming decades. Recognizing this, many corporations are entering the industry to profit from an emerging area of senior care.
With nearly 70% of all nursing homes operated as for-profit business, much of the individualized care once present with nursing home care is gone. In many instances, nursing home operators’ trim staff to bare-bone levels to maximize profitability.
When staffing levels are reduced patients suffer as there are simply not enough R.N.’s, L.P.N’s and C.N.A.’s to sufficiently tend to immediate and developing patient needs. In a study commissioned by the American Association for Justice, 90% of nursing homes were under-staffed. Consequently, the medical needs of patients may go unsatisfied resulting in patient injury or death.
Some of the corporately owned nursing home chains in Illinois our elder abuse attorneys deal with include:
- Alden Health Care Facilities
- Aperion Care Centers
- Brookdale Senior Living
- Helia Healthcare Services
- Heritage Healthcare Services
- Kindred Healthcare
- Manor Care
- Rosewood Care Centers
- Sava Senior Care
- Sunrise Living Center
- Symphony Nursing Homes
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect FAQs
What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect?
Red flags include: the development of pressure sores, particularly on the buttock and heels; sudden behavioral changes or moody, angry, withdrawn, or upset behavior; clothing that is dirty or bloody; joints that are stiff or stuck in one position; bruising, cuts, fractures or burns; sexually transmitted diseases; sudden weight loss; of the appearance of being overly medicated or fatigued.
Pay attention to how staff acts around you and your family member when you visit. Do they refuse you on some visits or seem annoyed by your presence? Does your loved one act differently when they’re present?
What Should I do if I Suspect Mistreatment (and how to Report Poor Nursing Home Care)?
When you learn that a loved one has been injured or mistreated during an admission to a nursing home there are accompanying feelings of anger, frustration and possibly guilt. You likely have questions about the circumstances involved and are looking for answers about how it occurred. Reporting a situation to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) can initiate the process of getting the answers you need.
When a report of poor nursing home care is reported to IDPH, it will trigger an investigation where state nursing home inspectors or ‘surveyors’ are deployed to the facility where an incident took place. State nursing home surveyors have the capacity to review a patient’s medical chart and interview staff members who have information about a specific incident episode of neglect.
After the survey is complete, a written report will be issued and a determination of a violation in patient care will be determined as being substantiated or not. While the findings of a specific violation are generally not considered to be admissible in court from an evidence perspective, the content of the report can be particularly useful when proceeding with nursing home negligence lawsuits.
To initiate a complaint against a nursing home in Illinois, you should contact the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) via mail, telephone or fax (links to complaint forms below as well).
Central Complaint Registry Hotline - 800-252-4343
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
TTY for the Hearing Impaired Only- 800-547-0466
Mail form to:
Illinois Department of Public Health
Office of Health Care Regulation
Central Complaint Registry
525 W. Jefferson St., Ground Floor
Springfield, IL 62761-0001
Healthcare Facilities Complaint Form
Fax form to: 217-524-8885
When contacting the IDPH you should provide them with the following in order for them to conduct a thorough investigation:
- Name of nursing home resident
- What happened to the nursing home resident
- When the incident(s) occurred
- Name and location of the facility involved
Reports to the IDPH can be made anonymously, but if you would like a copy of the report and findings, you should give the agency your name and contact information.
If there is an acute situation that requires immediate attention, you should contact the local police department.
What Laws Protect Illinois Nursing Home Patients?
Both the Federal Nursing Home Care Reform Act of 1987 and the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act protect nursing home patients. These statutes set forth standards to ensure that nursing home residents receive the “highest practicable” mental, physical, and psychosocial wellbeing. This regulatory framework enforces quality care, establishes a resident Bill of Rights, and makes provisions for certain services for residents. To receive Medicaid or Medicare payments, each facility must comply with the requirements of the Nursing Home Care Reform Act. (See ILCS 210 ILCS 45/Nursing Home Care Act and Nursing Home Care Act 42 U.S. Code Section 1395i-3)
How Long Do I Have to File an Illinois Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit?
In Illinois, you have two years to file a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home. Illinois law states that “[a]ctions for damages for an injury to the person… shall be commenced within 2 years... after the cause of action accrued.” This applied to causes of action brought under the Illinois Nursing Care Act as well as the Illinois Wrongful Death Act (See 735 ILCS 5/13-202 and 740 ILCS 180/0.001)
How do I Prove a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Case?
How to prove a Chicago nursing home abuse case depends on the type of claims that you bring. Some typical claims involve nursing home negligence, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. In a negligence action, you must show that the defendant: 1) owed you a duty; 2) the defendant breached that duty; 3) you suffered injuries, and 4) the defendant's breach caused those injuries.
Medical malpractice actions are similar to negligence actions. In these suits, you must show that: 1) a patient-provider relationship existed between yourself and the defendant; 2) the defendant owed you certain standard of care; 3) the defendant failed to provide you with that standard of care; 4) you suffered injuries; and 5) your injuries were because of the defendant's failures. Finally, in Illinois wrongful death actions, you must prove that: 1) your spouse or loved one died; 2) the defendant caused the death, and 3) the death caused you damages.
How Much are Illinois Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Cases Worth?
Each nursing home injury case is very different, and the compensation will be dependent on the unique circumstances of your case. Some things that can be used to determine the financial value of the case in both negligence and wrongful death are medical costs; pain and suffering of the patient and family; disfigurement; loss of income; loss of normal life; and survival damages, in the case of wrongful death.
The total amount awarded will depend on the extent of the injury and can also be affected by some state laws that limit the amount of compensation. Other relevant factors include age of the individual; conduct of the facility; the facility’s history of care; whether the nursing home is insured; and whether the family was regularly involved in the care of the loved one.
Here are a couple examples of successful nursing home abuse actions:
$972,000 Jury Award. The events of this suit arose in Anna, Illinois. A woman in her 80s with a history of health issues entered a nursing home. Her conditions included dementia and hypertension and doctors considered her at risk for falls. They warned the home’s management company about this too. The next few years of her life passed without a problem. Yet, when she was 92, she fell down on the floor of her room. Home staff didn’t see this happen. They found her on the floor in a pool of her own blood in the early hours of the morning. They rushed her to the ER. Doctors diagnosed her with a fractured spine and hematoma, and she had many bruises and scars. Just hours after these events, she slipped into a coma. She passed away about a week after this. Her five adult children brought an action against the home, alleging negligence and wrongful death. A jury awarded the family $972,000.
$725,000 Settlement. An 83-year-old woman entered a nursing home in Illinois with a bed sore. She was also at risk for falls. The sore progressed to stage 4 while in the nursing home and became infected, leading to sepsis. During her stay, she also fell from her bed, breaking her femur. Her medical bills related to the bed sore and fall reached more than $150,000. Her family felt that the injuries and resulting complications led to her death. The nursing home settled for $725,000 to cover her medical bills, pain, and suffering, the most common damage categories claimed in wrongful death and negligence cases.
For information on the nursing home negligence cases, our law firm has handled please look here.
Contact Our Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC appreciates the feelings of anger and guilt after a loved one has suffered an injury from abuse after an admission to an Illinois nursing home.
We encourage you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights and options for pursuing a claim or lawsuit against a facility. Our Chicago nursing home negligence attorneys are available 24-7 and we can schedule a meeting at your home or our office. We handle cases across Illinois and are happy to travel to a location that is accessible for you.