Nursing Home Duties in Illinois
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Nursing homes are required to provide quality care to nursing home residents. Duties may be outlined by state law, laws governing care required to receive payment from insurance companies or in the contract between the nursing home and the resident. If the nursing home violates its duties to the resident, it is possible that the nursing home resident may have the right to file a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home.
Causes of Action
There are several different types of claims that nursing home residents or their loved ones may be able to assert against nursing homes. For example, they may sue the nursing home for intentional abuse or medical malpractice. Another common type of claim is for negligence. Negligence results when the defendant does not act with the standard of care required of it under the circumstances. In the case of nursing homes, negligence liability can result when the nursing home does not provide the standard of care that is expected in other nursing homes. When determining whether a claim against a nursing home is viable, the fact finder considers the duties that the nursing home owed to its residents. The duties that a nursing home owes its resident may include the following:
Providing Emergency Responses
One duty that nursing homes have is to provide emergency responses if a medical emergency arises. For example, a nursing home resident may fall and require medical treatment. The nursing home may be required to check on patients periodically in case they are in this type of predicament. They may be required to provide CPR if they find an unconscious patient unless the patient has a valid Do Not Resuscitate order. The nursing home may be required to call 911 or call a code blue along with accompanying processes.
The nursing home may be required to provide supervision to residents. Supervision can help nursing home staff respond quickly in case an emergency arises. For example, a resident may begin choking. When supervision is constantly available, staff will be present to help provide assistance. Some nursing home patients may have precise instructions that require staff to supervise them while eating. Staff may be required to carefully monitor patients to prevent possible choking hazards.
Duty to Rotate Patients
A nursing home also has the duty to move patients who are bedbound or have difficulty moving around. This can help prevent bed sores. Acquiring a bed sore is considered an activity that should never happen, according to federal sources.
Duty to Clean Patients
Patients need to be cleaned periodically to avoid infection caused by inadequate hygiene. It may be difficult to bathe patients in a nursing home who have problems with mobility, but the nursing home staff is expected to maintain proper hygiene practices for the good of the residents.
Duty to Properly Feed Patients
Nursing homes are required to provide patients with adequate food. Residents losing weight unexpectedly or being malnourished is a sign of nursing home neglect.
Duty to Provide Medications
Nursing home patients may be prescribed a number of different medications. Nursing homes are required to provide residents with their prescribed medication.
Duty to Prevent Abuse
Nursing homes are expected to hire staff who will properly care for nursing home residents. Sometimes abuse or neglect arises because staff members are short in supply, and they may become resentful or angry. Nursing homes should carefully check the backgrounds of staff members before hiring them.
In addition to preventing abuse from staff members, nursing homes in Illinois also have the duty to prevent abuse from other residents. If a resident poses a danger to other residents, the nursing home may have a duty to control the resident and possibly remove him or her. One study shows that 20 percent of nursing home residents suffer physical or verbal abuse from other residents rather than nursing home staff. However, many professionals believe that this number is underreported.
Nursing homes can take proactive steps to prevent abuse. For example, they may create more private spaces for residents, install surveillance cameras, improve lighting, ensure proper staffing and reacting quickly when situations begin to escalate. The facility should have policies in place that prevents abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Contact an Illinois Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer
If your loved one suffered an injury, it is important to contact an Illinois nursing home neglect lawyer. He or she can evaluate your claim and determine if there may be a viable claim against the nursing home. He or she can identify possible legal options available in your case.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.