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What Is Medical Neglect in Nursing Homes?

We put our trust in nursing homes to care for and watch after our loved ones when they need specialized medical care. Unfortunately, nursing home residents suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of trained professionals every day.

Many types of neglect can occur in a nursing home. Perhaps the most serious of which is medical neglect, which can occur when a staff member fails to provide necessary care or when the care rendered is sub-standard. Medical neglect can result in such conditions as bed sores, injuries from restraints, malnutrition, and dehydration. If you entrust the care of your loved one in the hands of professional nursing home staff, medical neglect is not acceptable. If your loved one has been neglected, however, you might have grounds for a nursing home neglect claim.

Nursing homes in Illinois are licensed, regulated, and inspected by both state and federal agencies, including the Illinois Department of Public Health, which works to ensure the safety of Illinois’ 100,000 nursing home residents. Responding to over 5,000 complaints a year, the Department of Public Health has its hands full holding nursing homes to mandatory state standards of care.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act protects nursing home residents from any breach of duty to care that might compromise a resident’s health, safety, happiness, and well-being. Sadly, despite stringent standards and robust protections, the elderly can suffer abuse and neglect even when under supervised, professional care. Due to the vulnerability and helplessness of many nursing home residents, the effects of neglect can be fatal.

Because of these risks, you should thoroughly review a nursing home before choosing one for your loved one. Visit the home, and research its history of violations. You can also take steps to ensure the treatment your loved one receives is appropriate and of high quality. As a family member of a loved one in a long-term care nursing home, you have a right to install an electronic monitoring device (i.e. a closed-circuit television camera), so you can keep tabs on the standard of care your loved one receives.

If you suspect medical neglect, you or your loved should submit a complaint to the Department of Public Health. You should also consult with an experienced Arlington Heights nursing home abuse attorney who has handled nursing home neglect cases. If your loved one is competent and of sound mind, he or she can file a claim against the nursing home. If not, a family member, close friend, or someone with a power of attorney may file the claim.

An attorney can investigate the facts and circumstances of the neglect and advise you on your loved one’s rights regarding legal claims. Nursing homes should be held accountable for medical neglect, and an attorney can help you do just that. You will also want to work with an attorney if you want to file a personal injury claim against the nursing home so your loved one can recover losses associated with the neglect.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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