FAQs: What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

  • Elder Law
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FAQs: What Is Nursing Home Abuse?  | Mario Godoy | Lombard Estate Planning Lawyer

An elder law attorney can help you pursue personal injury, nursing home abuse or other claims against negligent nursing homes and other care facilities. According to statistics from the Nursing Home Abuse Center, one out of every 10 senior citizens in the United States experiences some type of abuse, but fewer than 20% of those cases ever get reported. For every reported case of elder abuse and neglect, approximately 23 cases go undetected.

Nursing Home Abuse in Illinois

Illinois has approximately 70,000 nursing home residents, ranking it as the 7th largest nursing home population in the United States behind New York, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, according to the Nursing Home Abuse Center. The Illinois Department on Aging reports in 2017 alleged the following types of elder abuse:

• 52% financial exploitation

• 23% physical abuse

• 40% active or passive neglect

• 40% emotional abuse

Nursing home abuse victims usually suffer from more than one type of abuse. Elder financial abuse was estimated to have cost older Americans $2.9 billion in 2009.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is the agency responsible for ensuring that nursing homes comply with state regulations. Each year, the Department responds to approximately 6,000 complaints.

Nursing home inspections, called surveys, are required to evaluate the nursing home, its equipment, staff, policies, procedures and finances once every 12 months. Elder law experts say that nursing home surveys and reports do not identify all instances of abuse, and much nursing home abuse is unreported; including abuse by other nursing home residents.

Illinois Elder Abuse and Neglect Act

The Illinois Elder Abuse and Neglect Act was passed in 1988 to help law enforcement and social workers respond to reports of elder abuse. There is a requirement that elder care and other professionals in contact with seniors 60 must report signs of abuse.

Illinois Nursing Home Care Act

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act of 2011 created a resident’s bill of rights and established skill level and required training for nurses, assistants and technicians. The Act provided families and community groups with policing powers and increased the enforcement strength of agencies like the Illinois Department of Public Health.

If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect someone in a nursing home has been abused, you should act immediately to protect them: 

  1. Determine if they should immediately be removed from the nursing home where they are living.
  2. Report the facility to the state of Illinois Department of Public Health at 1-800-252-4343. 
  3. 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 abuse 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.