Elderly and physically or mentally incapacitated individuals in nursing homes with underlying health conditions are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Many Illinois nursing homes are reporting outbreaks of multiple cases of the coronavirus among residents and staff, as well as resident deaths. Local news is reporting that some Illinois nursing home residents who have been hospitalized during the COVID-19 pandemic are unable to return to their nursing home because they do not have the resources to care for them, and fear the spread of the virus to other residents.
Many Illinois residents took early steps to restrict visitors to protect the health of their residents and staff.
Nursing Homes Owe Residents a Standard of Care
According to the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, state nursing homes are legally responsible for the physical, mental and emotional well-being of their residents. The Standard of Care means that nursing homes have a legal responsibility to protect the health and safety of their residents.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advised long-term care facilities and nursing homes employees to follow strict procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the following:
If a nursing home does not take the recommended steps to protect their residents from coronavirus, they may be guilty of nursing home negligence. Under Illinois law, residents who become injured or die from coronavirus have a legal right to bring a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home. If you suspect a loved one in a nursing home has been neglected or abused, you should act immediately to protect them:
• Determine if they should immediately be removed from the nursing home where they are living.
• Report the facility to the state of Illinois Department of Public Health at 1-800-252-4343.
• Contact an elder law attorney to protect the person’s rights, your rights and seek compensation for the abuse or neglect.
Do you have questions about nursing home negligence or elder law in Illinois? Our experienced elder law attorneys in Lombard Illinois understand applicable laws and advise you on the best options to protect an elderly or disabled person. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at (630) 800-0112.