Helping a loved one move into a nursing home or long term care facility can be nerve racking for anyone. There are always concerns about the care your loved one is receiving and everyone has heard the horror stories of abuse and neglect for the elderly. However, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved one’s safety and rights are protected under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.  The Act was established and enacted to provide nursing home residents and their families, with the assurance that they will receive proper care and will not be subject to nursing home abuse and neglect. When we think of nursing home neglect or abuse, we often think of physical injuries.

The  Act now clarifies that nursing home residents’ rights can now be vindicated even if abuse or neglect did not result in an injury. The Act clearly states that “assistance with activities of daily living” are a category of services that, if withheld or not provided, constitute neglect. This means if a nursing home fails to provide the most basic human needs, such as hygiene, dressing, and feeding. Although these failures may not result in a serious or permanent injury they are still considered abuse and neglect.

The Nursing Home Care Act states that all residents:

  • Have the right to remain free from abuse and neglect.
  • Have the right to manage their own financial affairs.
  • Have the right to wear their own clothes and keep their personal belongings in their rooms.
  • Have the right to be cared for by their own doctor under their own health insurance or at their expense.
  • Are afforded the right to access and look over all medical records related to their care.
  • Have the right to religious freedom.
  • Have the right to refuse treatment.
  • Have the right to visitors, mail and access to phones.
  • Have the right to be free from restraints, unless ordered by a physician to protect a resident

If you believe a loved one could be suffering from abuse or neglect, you do have options available to you. First off, The Illinois Department of Public Health is in charge of enforcing the Nursing Home Care Act throughout the state of Illinois, and all facilities that fall under the definition of a long term care facility are required to comply with the Act.  First off you can file a complaint with the long-term care ombudsman, who is legally required to investigate your complaint and ensure that the facility complies with the acts required.  If a long-term care facility violates the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and fails to comply can result in a more in-depth investigation, fines, and other penalties for any violations found.

To learn more about the options you have when you suspect that your family member could be the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, we recommend consulting one of our experienced attorneys.