Enforced by the Illinois Department of Health, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act protects and defends the rights of long-term care facilities residents. According to the INHCA, a long-term care facility is defined as a building, private home, institution or other building that provides sheltered, nursing or personal care for at least three people not related by marriage or blood to the owner of the facility. Long-term care facilities may be also be called “shelter care facilities”, “skilled nursing facilities” or “intermediate care facilities”.
The Illinois Bureau of Long-Term Care regulates nursing homes operating in Illinois and ensures they remain in compliance with all provisions declared in the Nursing Home Care Act. Additionally, the BLTC monitors nursing homes receiving Medicare or Medicaid abide by federal regulations governing payments received by residents eligible for either health insurance.
Protections Given to Long-Term Care Residents
The INHCA guarantees that residents of nursing home facilities have the right to:
- Manage their own finances–nursing homes cannot withhold a resident’s money nor spend their money without prior permission from the resident.
- Private interactions with family or friends–residents have the right to readily take phone calls, receive mail and visit others in private from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm daily.
- Be treated respectfully by nursing home staff–nurses and aides must knock before entering a resident’s room, allow residents to wear their own clothes and permit residents to see their medical records upon request. Also, nursing homes cannot force residents to perform work at the facility.
- Have their “Do Not Resuscitate” wish honored–nursing homes must abide by Living Will orders and establish policies for keeping DNR orders properly filed.
- Never be physically restrained or drugged—nursing homes who drug or restrain residents without a physician’s order may be charged with abuse and neglect, a serious felony that could result in the state shutting down the facility.
- Share a room with a spouse–if a married couple reside in a nursing home, they have the right to share one room together (barring medical reasons they may make the situation harmful to either spouse).
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Nursing home residents also have the right to voice their grievances to the facility’s administration without fear of retaliatory actions from the home, such as being discharged arbitrarily or treated disrespectfully.
A federally mandated law called the Nursing Home Reform Act further provides long-term care residents with additional rights extending beyond those rights included in the INHCA.
Where Does the INHCA Not Apply?
These facilities are not bound by INHCA regulations: any state or federally operated care facility; hospitals; community living situations; supportive residences and community-integrated living arrangements facilities.
How Widespread is Nursing Home Abuse?
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, nearly one in three nursing homes in the U.S. received citations for violations that could have caused harm to residents. One out of ten nursing homes had violations that did cause serious injury or jeopardized their life. A survey of 2000 nursing home residents found that almost half said they have been abused by staff and 95 percent reported neglect or substandard care.
Protect Elderly Loved Ones By Ensuring Their Rights
If you suspect a loved has suffered a violation of their rights, you and your loved one may be eligible for monetary compensation. The INHCA permits you to sue the owner of a long-term care facility for pain and suffering, lost income, medical bills and even attorney fees. A seasoned Chicago nursing home lawyer like Robert J. Rooth can help you bring justice to abusive nursing homes and staff members and make them pay for causing your loved one emotional and physical suffering.
Contact us at (847) 869-9100 to make arrangements to discuss your case with our attorney today.