How Is Neglect Legally Defined in a Skilled Nursing Facility?
When it comes time to move a loved one into a nursing home or independent living facility, you expect that facility to provide them with quality care around the clock. When people think about injuries and instances of failing staff, abuse often comes to mind first; however, neglect is often a bigger problem in nursing homes.
It’s important to understand how neglect is a unique issue many nursing home residents face, what the signs of neglect are, and how negligent facilities can be held accountable for their actions or inactions. Let’s start by going over how neglect is legally defined in a skilled nursing facility in Marion.
Defining Neglect in Illinois
Every state defines elder neglect different. In Illinois, the Adult Protective Services Act defines neglect as the following: “Another individual’s failure to provide an eligible adult with or willful withholding from an eligible adult the necessities of life including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.” So while abuse deals with physical, emotional, financial, and sexual harm, neglect refers to situations where a nursing home is not meeting the basic needs of its residents. Getting needed goods and services to be happy, healthy, and safe is also included.
Self-neglect is also a matter that nursing homes should prevent, and family members should be aware of. Self-neglect happens when a skilled nursing facility resident is unable to take care of their health and day-to-day care. If an adult cannot perform self-care tasks and their health is threatened as a result, the nursing home or independent living facility has an obligation to intervene and provide the required care.
In most instances, neglect is not intentional. In nursing homes, understaffing and inadequate training are common factors that result in residents not receiving what they need. In some instances, however, caregivers commit criminal neglect of an elderly person. This means they perform an act which causes the senior’s life to be endangered, fail to perform acts the senior needs, or abandon the senior.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
The signs of neglect in a long-term care facility vary greatly, depending on what a resident is not receiving. Some of the most common signs we see include the following:
- Malnourishment and dehydration from lack of food and water
- Poor hygiene from lack of bathing assistance or clean clothes
- The formation of bedsores or skin ulcers from immobility or dirty sheets
- Exacerbation of injuries from unmet medical needs
- Poorly maintained medical conditions from missed medication
No matter what your loved one has suffered as a result of neglect in their skilled nursing facility, it’s important to understand their legal rights and options and what can be done to hold the negligent facility accountable for their actions.
Holding Neglectful Nursing Homes Accountable
If you suspect your loved one is suffering from neglect, immediately call the police if you fear the situation is life-threatening. You’ll also need to call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Nursing Home Complaint Hotline. When you do, be prepared to answer the following questions to the best of your ability:
- The alleged victim’s name, address, telephone number, sex, age, and general condition
- The alleged abuse’s name, sex, age, relationship to victim, and condition
- The circumstances that are leading to your report
- When you believe the alleged victim is in immediate danger
- When you believe the victim could make a report themselves
- Your name, telephone number, and profession
- The name of others with information about the situation
- If you are willing to be contacted again
- Any other relevant information
Holding a neglectful nursing home responsible with a nursing home abuse claim will not only ensure your loved one’s safety, but it will also ensure, or at least improve, the safety and wellbeing of other residents in the facility. Nursing homes need to recognize that they have a responsibility to their residents. When that responsibility is not met and residents suffer, something needs to change.
Contact Prince Law Firm
If you’re loved one lives in a long-term care facility and you believe they are not receiving the treatment or care they need or deserve to live a high-quality life, it’s time to take action. With the help of an attorney, you’ll be able to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your loved one, as well as help them hold the negligent facility accountable for their negligence.
To learn more about nursing home neglect and abuse, or to get started on a claim on behalf of a family member, schedule a case evaluation today. We’ll review what your loved one has been through and help you determine if filing a personal injury claim is the best way to proceed.