How to Report Nursing Home Neglect in Illinois
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect, there are steps you can take to report it. In Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health is responsible for investigating nursing home abuse or neglect. We will provide an overview of the process for reporting nursing home neglect in Illinois, contact information for the relevant agencies, and advice on what to do if you suspect your loved one is being neglected.
Understanding Nursing Home Neglect
Illinois nursing home abuse is sadly more common than many of us realize. One form of this abuse is nursing home neglect.
Nursing home neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide the proper care that a nursing home resident needs. This can include, but is not limited to, actions like failing to provide:
- Assistance with walking to prevent falls.
- Enough food or water.
- Medications as prescribed.
- Notification to physicians of changes in condition..
- Repositioning to avoid bed sores.
- Incontinence care.
Nursing home neglect can have serious consequences for the health and well-being of residents. It can lead to physical harm, emotional distress, and even death. Unfortunately, it may be easy to overlook the signs of nursing home neglect because the residents may not be able to communicate what is happening to them. But there are some telltale signs that something may be wrong, including:
- Unexplained bruising or fractures.
- Changes in weight or appearance.
- Unusual mood changes or behavior.
- Lack of personal hygiene.
If you suspect a loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect, taking action is essential.
Step 1: Contact Nursing Home Administration
The first step is to contact the nursing home administration or talk to the nursing home staff and express your concerns. Sometimes neglect occurs due to the isolated actions of a single caregiving staff member. In these cases, problem resolution is achieved by bringing it to the attention of the nursing home administration.
However, if they are not responsive, you are unsatisfied with their response, or you believe that the cause of neglect is a systemic issue in the nursing home, you may need to take additional steps.
Step 2: Gather Information
You will need to provide as much information as possible when escalating complaints.
To properly report nursing home abuse in Illinois, you should prepare yourself with the details of the neglect. Be as specific as possible in your account. If you have any physical evidence of the neglect, such as photographs or medical records, be sure to have these ready or have them easily accessible if needed.
Here is a checklist of questions you can answer to help you gather the information necessary to report neglect:
Who is the patient or resident you are concerned about?
Who are the employees involved?
Who are the other employees that work with this patient or resident?
Who at the facility have you spoken to, if anyone, about this situation?
What specific kind of abuse or neglect are you concerned about?
What happened? Provide as many details as possible and cover all forms of neglect or abuse.
What are the consequences of this neglect or abuse?
What evidence do you have that supports your claim? This may include photographs, medical records, police reports, or witness statements.
When did you discover the neglect or abuse?
When did the incident(s) occur? Be as specific as possible about each incident’s date, time of day, and duration.
Where is the facility located? Include the full name of the facility and its address.
Where in the facility did the incident(s) take place? Include all locations, such as nursing home rooms, hallways, common areas, outdoor spaces, etc.
How has the patient been harmed by neglect or abuse?
How have you been harmed by the neglect or abuse?
How could the patient be harmed in the future if the neglect or abuse is not stopped?
How was the neglect or abuse discovered?
How many times has this happened?
How have you or others responded to the situation?
How has the facility responded, if at all?
Step 3: Report the Concerns to the Appropriate Agency
You have two options for reporting your concerns about nursing home abuse or neglect in Illinois. You can contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program or file a report with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
Working With the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
A Long-Term Care Ombudsman is a volunteer or staff person appointed by a state government to advocate for the residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen help residents resolve problems and ensure that their rights are protected. They also work to improve the quality of care in long-term care facilities.
The Illinois Department of Aging oversees the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in Illinois. You can reach the program by:
- Calling the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (toll-free)
- Emailing the program at [email protected]
- Contacting the Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in your area.
Filing a Report with the Illinois Department of Public Health
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is responsible for investigating complaints about nursing homes in Illinois. You can file a complaint about a nursing home by:
Phone: 1-800-252-4343 or 1-800-547-0466 (TTY) (8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday)
Email: [email protected]
Mail: Illinois Department of Public Health
Office of Health Care Regulation
Central Complaint Registry
525 W. Jefferson Street, Ground Floor
Springfield, IL 62761-0001
You will need to fill out the Health Care Facilities Complaint Form to file a complaint of elderly abuse in Illinois. You can find the form on the IDPH website or request that a form be mailed to you by calling the phone number above.
After filing a report, someone from the IDPH will contact you to discuss your concerns and tell you what steps will be taken next. The IDPH will also provide you with updates on the status of its investigation.
If you wish to remain anonymous, you may, however, you will not be able to receive updates on the status of the investigation.
When and Why to Contact a Lawyer
If your loved one is experiencing neglect or abuse in an Illinois nursing home, it is crucial to reach out for help. A lawyer can be helpful at any stage of the process to ensure their rights are being put first. In addition, they can help with additional investigation, ensuring you have the necessary resources and more.
If you are considering taking legal action against a facility or individual, it is essential to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. There may be time limits on how long you have to take action. A lawyer can help you understand your options and make sure that your rights are protected.
You should speak with a lawyer immediately if your loved one has been seriously injured or died due to nursing home abuse or neglect. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the facility or individuals responsible for the abuse or neglect. A lawyer can help you investigate the incident, gather evidence, and file the necessary paperwork.
No one deserves to be neglected or abused, especially not our elderly loved ones. If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected, reach out for help. You can contact Robert Rooth Law Firm, and we will help you get the justice and compensation that your loved one and family deserves.