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Nursing home residents have the same rights as any other patient at a medical facility. They are also afforded specific rights under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act as well as other state and federal legislation. Residents have the right to wear their own clothes and use their own personal property, enjoy a reasonable level of privacy, practice their chosen religion, and much more. Sadly, one of the most important rights afforded to nursing home residents is also one of the most commonly violated. Although nursing home residents have a legal right to be free of unnecessary restraints, overuse of physical and chemical restraints persists throughout Illinois and the United States.

What Is a Restraint?
Restraints are anything used to limit a resident’s movement or independence. Physical restraints include items like arm and leg restraints, ties, vests, and hand mitts. Everyday items can also be used as restraints. For example, bed sheets may be tucked in tightly in order to keep a resident from getting out of bed. Wheelchair wheel locks may be used to stop a resident from moving about the facility. Chemical restraints are substances used to sedate a resident. Medications such as antipsychotic drugs and benzodiazepines are sometimes administered to nursing home residents “off label” to keep them calm.

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Moving a parent, grandparent, or any relative into a nursing home is never an easy task. If you have an elderly or disabled loved one who is staying in a nursing home, you may be worried about the quality of care he or she is receiving. Although many nursing home workers are kind, caring, proficient caregivers, some nursing home staff expose residents to unlawful neglect or even abuse. Research shows that many nursing homes are dangerously understaffed or employ workers who do not have adequate training. This is why it is essential for anyone with a loved one in a nursing home to be vigilant for recognizing signs of nursing home neglect and abuse.

Unexplained Injuries and Preventable Medical Conditions
Most nursing home residents need assistance with daily living tasks like eating meals, showering, and using the restroom as well as managing their medical conditions. Poor hygiene, malnutrition, and dehydration are often red flags of nursing home neglect. Some residents suffer from severe physical disabilities or cognitive incapacitation that make them completely reliant on nursing home staff. Decubitus ulcers or bedsores are an especially serious concern for residents who have reduced mobility. Workers at these long-term care facilities should periodically reposition residents who cannot move about on their own so that bedsores do not develop. If a resident does develop bedsores, it should be immediately addressed so that the wound does not become infected. Frequent bedsores or bedsores that are not adequately treated can be a sign that a resident is being neglected. Unexplained injuries like bruises, scrapes, and fractures may also be a sign of neglect or abuse.

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Can you sue a nursing home in Illinois?

Millions of Americans reside in nursing homes. These are places where our loved ones should be receiving the care they deserve. However, there are times when nursing homes do not live up to the standards they are required to by law. If a nursing home has been negligent or if nursing home staff have abused or neglected a president, they could face a lawsuit. There are various reasons the elder abuse lawsuit against the nursing home may arise.

Nursing home abuse

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10% of every person over the age of 60 has experienced some form of elder abuse. Data from the CDC shows that this type of abuse can take many forms, including the following:

  • Physical abuse. This occurs when a nursing home resident experiences illness, pain, or injury as a result of the intentional use of force by nursing home staff (slapping, kicking, burning, pushing, punching, etc.).
  • Sexual abuse. This type of abuse includes any forced or unwanted sexual interaction with a nursing home resident.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse. This abuse refers to both verbal and nonverbal behaviors aimed to inflict mental pain, dear, anguish, and distress on a nursing home resident. This can include name-calling, destruction of property, humiliation tactics, isolation, and more.
  • Financial abuse. It is illegal to improperly use a nursing home resident’s finances or assets. However, nursing home staff typically has access to their residents’ personal and financial information.

Nursing home neglect

Neglect is also a form of elder abuse. In the nursing home setting, neglect includes the failure of the nursing home staff to meet a resident’s basic needs. This can include a failure to provide the following:

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