Our Chicago nursing home attorneys have experience prosecuting cases of serious injury caused by abuse and neglect in facilities across Illinois.
While the facts surrounding each case may be different, you can take comfort in the fact that Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has represented hundreds of individuals and families in claims and lawsuits against negligent facilities.
When it comes to winning cases, our law office invests the time and resources necessary so that each case receives the attention needed to secure the most favorable outcome. In 2016, we have recovered over $8 million in settlements from nursing homes on behalf of our clients.
If your loved one has been mistreated at a nursing home, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers invites you to call or complete the case evaluation form here and our office will reach out to you shortly for a free review of your legal rights and options for financial compensation.
Nursing Facilities Putting Profits Ahead of Patient Care
The nursing home industry has become a big business. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 1.4 million people residing in 15,600 nursing homes in the United States (in Illinois, there are over 1,200 facilities caring for more than 100,000 patients). According to data collected by Medicare, nearly 70% are operated as ‘for-profit’ facilities.
While there is nothing illegal about making a profit by caring for people in nursing homes, a conflict begins to arise when nursing home operators attempt to maximize their profits by cutting their costs. One of the easiest ways for a nursing home to cut costs is by reducing the staffing levels and hiring inexperienced workers.
In the end, these cost cutting measures impact the patients living in nursing homes who may see their care needs go unmet. Acute and chronic problems may ensue which frequently translate to serious injuries or untimely deaths.
Common Cases Involving Abusive Care
As despicable as it sounds, the term ‘nursing home abuse’ derives from the fact that there are some truly unfit workers and companies who remain involved in the long-term care industry and abusive conditions are allowed to develop. Cases that may be categorized as abuse include the following:
- Physical Harm - This may be an act perpetuated by nursing home staff, other residents or visitors to a facility.
- Unknown Fractures – Any time a patient suffers a fracture at a nursing facility is cause for concern. In addition to the underlying circumstance, many patients suffer from serious medical complications following a broken bone.
- Sexual Assaults – Facilities have a responsibility to screen staff and residents who have a history aggressive behavior and sexual assault.
- Dropped Patients – When staff fail to get assistance or needed lifting equipment, patients may be dropped suffering serious injuries
- Errors Made With Medication – Facilities have a responsibility to provide the correct medication and dosage as prescribed by the resident’s physician. When errors are made, patients may sustain complications or even death.
- Bed Rail Entrapment - Particularly for disabled patients, when facilities fail to use mattresses that are properly sized to a bed frame, residents can become- stuck or entrapped and suffer injury.
- Untimely Death - Despite the elderly demographic, a sudden, unexpected death deserves to be looked at to determine if there are factors involving the patient’s care that contributed to the death.
Situations Involving Neglect at Skilled Nursing Facilities
When patient needs go unsatisfied for extended periods, this may be more indicative of a broken or neglectful system. Situations which may be categorized as nursing home neglect, include:
- Bed Sores - When staff fail to turn and reposition patients with limited mobility blood supply to tissue is interrupted and the flesh dies. An open wound may develop. Read more about bedsores here.
- Repeated Falls - Each patient must be evaluated to determine if they are a ‘fall risk’, when staff fail to implement safeguards and a fall ensues, they may be accountable for the patient’s injuries.
- Choking - Many patients have special diets to accommodate difficulty with swallowing. When staff fail to adhere to the dietary restrictions or monitor patients, they may choke on solids or liquids resulting in catastrophic injury or death.
- Dehydration & Malnutrition - When a patient sustains a rapid weight loss, there may be an underling situation involving malnutrition or dehydration.
- Wandering - Particularly with dementia or Alzheimer’s patients, facilities must identify this group and implement safeguards to prevent them from leaving the safety of the facility without the knowledge of staff.
Signs of Poor Nursing Home Care to be Watchful For
As the family of a nursing home patient, you need to trust your instinct when it comes to identifying situations that may be identified as abuse or neglect. While some conditions may be attributable simply due to old age or illness, families should be on the lookout for the following:
- Pressure sores
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Bruises and bleeding
- Broken bones
- Emotional withdrawal
- Financial problems
- Changes to a will or power of attorney
- Silence or crying around staff at a facility
- Rapid weight loss
If you notice any of the above, you may wish to contact your nursing home ombudsmen, Department of health or an attorney. Read more about how to report poor care here.
How Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers Can Help You With a Nursing Home Case
As attorneys who represent families in civil lawsuits against nursing homes, our goal is to get you the maximum recovery that the law allows.
While we cannot control how a facility reacts to a claim or lawsuit initiated against them, we prepare our cases with the goal of assembling the strongest possible case so that we can maximize the value of your case whether it means settlement with the insurance company or litigation. From the time our law office is retained by an individual or family in a nursing home negligence case, we regularly obtain the following:
- Charts from nursing homes
- Medical records and bills from physicians and hospitals
- State nursing home surveys and inspection reports
- Death certificates and coroner's reports
- Photographs of injuries or conditions at a facility
- Reports of nurses or physicians to establish deviations from the standard of care
- Medicare payment logs
When it comes to post-settlement issues such as liens from health insurance companies or Medicare, we negotiate their liens to ensure that they are reimbursed for what they are entitled to under the law--- and to maximize the amount distributable to the individual or their family.
Further, when it comes to distribution of proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit, we handle the probate matters that Illinois law requires. You can rest assured that everything that needs to be done will be handled in a manner that is ethical but will maximize what the law affords you and your family.
Law Applicable to Nursing Home Negligence Cases
Patients in Illinois nursing homes are protect under Federal and State Law. In the Federal context, nursing homes must provide services to their patients so that they can “attain and maintain her highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.” see The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act or OBRA ’87.
Illinois has expanded the created legislation to further protect nursing home patients with The Nursing Home Care Act of Illinois (210 ILCS45/1-101). The act grants nursing home patients numerous legal rights when they are at a licensed facility in the state.
- No resident shall be deprived of any rights, benefits, or privileges guaranteed by law, the Constitution of the State of Illinois, or the Constitution of the United State solely on account of his status as a resident of a facility. (210 ILCS 45/2-101)
- Residents shall be permitted to manage his or her own financial affairs. (210 ILCS 45/2-102)
- Residents are permitted to retain and / or wear their personal property / clothing (210 ILCS 45/2-103)
- Patients are entitled to see their own physician at their own expense or via their health insurance. (210 ILCS 45/2-104)
- Every resident shall be permitted to refuse medical treatment and to know the consequences of such action, unless such refusal would be harmful to the health and safety of others and such harm is documented by a physician. (210 ILCS 45/2-104)
- Every resident, resident's guardian, or parent if the resident is a minor shall be permitted to inspect and copy all of his or her medical records. (210 ILCS 45/2-104)
- Residents shall be permitted respect and privacy in his or her personal care program. (210 ILCS 45/2-105)
- Residents have the right to be free from unnecessary chemical and physical restraints. (210 ILCS 45/2-106)
- Residents shall not be given unnecessary drugs. Further, residents shall not be given excessive doses, for excessive duration or drugs without sufficient monitoring. (210 ILCS 45/2-106.1)
- All residents shall be permitted "unimpeded, private and uncensored" communication with respect to mail, telephone calls or in-person visits. (210 ILCS 45/2-108)
- All residents shall be permitted freedom of religion and no religious beliefs are to be imposed on any resident. (210 ILCS 45/2-109)
- Residents and their families may conduct authorized electronic monitoring of the resident's room via electronic monitoring devices. (210 ILCS 45/2-115)
When the rights of a nursing home patient are compromised or when inferior care is provided and a patient is injured, they may pursue a case for civil damages to recover financial compensation for personal injury or death. Illinois recognizes the following elements of damages in nursing home cases.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
By holding facilities accountable for their conduct, we hope to improve the care all nursing home patients receive. Nursing home operators must learn that abusive and negligent care will not be tolerated.
Our Chicago law firm is committed to protecting the rights of nursing home patients. Each year we contribute a portion of our profits to organizations dedicated to protecting the rights of seniors living in nursing homes.
Finally, we have invested resources to educate families about nursing home care. We invite you to visit the sections below on our website, which are likely some of the most comprehensive materials you will find on the Internet related to nursing home litigation.
Get a Free Consultation With Our Chicago Nursing Home Attorneys Today
If you are ready to hold a facility accountable for poor care, which contributed, to an injury or fatality, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today. Our law firm represents families and individuals – exclusively. We do not represent corporations. All of our nursing home negligence cases are handled on a contingency fee basis where there is never a legal fee charged unless we are successful in a recovery on your behalf.
Join us in helping seniors get the care that they deserve in nursing homes.
This page is regularly updated by Jonathan Rosenfeld.