Nursing home abuse and neglect often goes unaddressed because residents and their families don’t necessarily know the rights a resident has. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45) specifically protects nursing home residents who may be more vulnerable to exploitation, neglect or abuse. Residents have the same rights just as any other person has under Illinois law, federal law, and state laws.
What is abuse or neglect?
Anyone residing in a long-term care facility has the right to be free from abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and financial exploitation. Abuse generally refers to the harmful actions, while neglect refers to the negligence or carelessness.
The statue reinforces the rights that every Illinois citizen has and details a number of specific rights and protects nursing home residents have that are guaranteed by state law or under the U.S Constitution. Those include:
Rights regarding spousal impoverishment. Nursing home facilities must inform all new residents upon being admitted of their spousal impoverishment rights under the Illinois Public Aid Code and the Medicare Catastrophic Act.
Right to private visits. Residents cannot be denied the opportunity for family and friends to visit, unless there is a verified medical reason for restricting visitations.
Right to personal property. Nursing home staff are not allowed to withhold or take a resident’s personal property; however, if there is medical reason for why the resident cannot have access to an item, they may be prevented from doing so.
Right to manage your own finances. Due to the nature of many resident’s illnesses, residents may not always have immediate access to their money; however, nursing homes are prohibited from spending a resident’s funds without proper authorization.
Right to your own physician. Nursing home residents have the right to choose their own physician and cannot be denied an opportunity to see their physician.
Right to respect and privacy in medical care. Residents have the legal right to privacy, and undisclosed personal information with their doctors and/or physician.
Right to participate in medical care and refuse treatment. Nursing home residents have the right to understand medical treatment they are undergoing and/or refuse treatment or medical interventions.
Right to exercise religion. Nursing homes cannot prevent a resident from expressing his/her religion.
Right to be free of physical or chemical restraints, unless medically necessary. Often times nursing homes must put restraints on a resident who puts themselves or others at risk of hurting them. The only exception a verified medical reason and when absolutely necessary. A residents physician is the only one who can order the use of physical or chemical restraints.
Right to rescreening when admitted with serious mental illness. When residents are admitted into a nursing home facility, they have the right to be rescreened and annually assessed.
Right to be free from unlawful discrimination. No resident should be unlawfully discriminated by any owner, licensee, administrator, employee, or agent of a facility.
Right to authorized electronic monitoring. A resident has the right to allow electronic monitoring devices placed in their rooms.
Right to see an attorney or social worker. Residents cannot be denied the opportunity to receive counsel from an attorney or social worker.
If you or a loved one has been abused or neglected in a long-term care facility such as an assisted living facility or nursing home, please contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. Schedule a free consultation today with Dinizulu Law Group today at (312) 384-1920.