If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect that your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse, immediately notify the head of the nursing home and document it in writing. Ask the head of the organization to investigate and call you. Then:

  • Make more frequent, unexpected visits
  • Keep a close eye on the abused person
  • Document and photograph any bruises, cuts or bedsores
  • Follow up on your request with the head of the nursing home
  • Document what you are told and other things you observe at the home
  • Make a note of how the staff acts towards you
  • Talk to your loved one and other residents about signs

Assure your loved one that it is OK to talk about what is happening, and take notes.

    Residents typically do not report neglect. Some are afraid or unable. Some simply do not recognize it themselves.Proper care in a nursing home may seem to some like excessive pampering, but it is not. Residents must have water available at all times, even if that means a staff member has to come to the room frequently to hold the glass. Residents must be supervised at all times to prevent nursing home accidents and injuries. And so much more.

     When you visit the staff may seem very attentive and helpful, but they may simply be on their best behavior because you are there observing. Be on the lookout for signs of neglect such as weight loss, bedsores, poor hygiene, dehydration, sunburn, injuries, infections, and unsanitary conditions

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.