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Nursing Home Law

Crystal Lake Nursing Home Lawyers

Attorneys Serving McHenry County & the Surrounding Areas

More than 100,000 Illinois residents live in long-term care facilities around the state. Most of these residents have been placed in a nursing home by family members who expect that their loved one will be safer than he or she was living alone, and will be cared for medically and otherwise. Unfortunately, not every nursing home fulfills its obligations to its residents.

When a resident in a long-term care facility is neglected, or general neglect of the premises and operation causes harm to a resident, the injured resident or surviving family may be entitled to damages.

Common Illinois Nursing Home Injuries

In a nursing home, as elsewhere in life, a wide range of accidents and injuries are possible. However, in a nursing home setting, certain injuries are far more common than others.

Falls in Nursing Homes

Falling is one of the most common causes of injury in nursing homes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1,800 U.S. nursing home residents die from falls each year. Many more sustain non-fatal injuries, including broken hips and other bones, head injuries, and facial injuries.

Bedsores (Pressure Sores) in Nursing Homes

Bedsores may not sound serious, but when they are not treated promptly and properly, they can cause infection, necessitate amputation, and even be fatal. The incidence and treatment of pressure sores is considered an indicator of the quality of care in a particular nursing home. One CDC study determined that nationwide, about 11% of nursing home residents suffered from bedsores. However, the rate within individual long-term care facilities ranged from 2% to 28%.

Overmedication and Medication Errors

Many nursing home residents are not fully aware of their own medications, allergies, and schedules. In fact, assistance with medication should be one of the benefits of entering a nursing home. However, when a patient is administered too much medication or the wrong medication, the results can be catastrophic.

Liability in Nursing Home Injury Cases

In nearly all nursing home injury cases, the facility is at least partially responsible for the injury. That’s because a long-term care facility has an obligation to maintain the premises, create and enact policies, train staff, assess patients, and manage care in such a way as to protect residents from harm. Some common causes of action against a nursing home in connection with injury to a resident include:

  • Premises liability: A nursing home is negligent if it fails to maintain the property in a manner that is safe for its elderly or disabled residents. This could include anything from failure to ensure that floors are dry to a cracked sidewalk in the resident courtyard or debris left on the cafeteria floor.
  • Negligent hiring, training, and supervision: A nursing home has an obligation to carefully select employees and to ensure that those employees are properly instructed in caring for residents and are fulfilling those duties. If a nursing home employee makes a mistake because he or she wasn’t properly trained, or if there was something in his or her background that should have been a red flag to the facility, the nursing home is typically liable for resulting injuries
  • Inadequate policies and procedures: One way in which nursing homes ensure that residents are well cared for and premises are maintained in safe order is through a clear, well-developed set of policies and procedures that is known to all staff members and, as necessary, to residents. Failure to implement or enforce such policies may be deemed negligence if a resident is injured.
  • Understaffing: Many nursing homes and similar facilities struggle with staffing issues, and may frequently find themselves short-handed. However, when a nursing facility is understaffed, it may mean that patients are not receiving the assistance they need. A nursing home will generally be liable for injury that occurs because staff members are stretched too thin to properly supervise and assist residents.

Medical Malpractice in Nursing Homes

Though many nursing home injuries occur as a result of ordinary negligence, some injuries may also give rise to a medical malpractice claim. One example would be a situation in which medical personnel on staff or a visiting doctor failed to diagnose and treat bedsores, resulting in serious complications. Where outside physicians are involved, there may be claims against both the facility and the independent physician or medical facility.

Talk to a Nursing Home Negligence Attorney

If your loved one has been injured or suffered a deterioration in medical condition due to nursing home neglect, you may feel that you don’t know where to turn for help. You can take the first step toward securing fair compensation and protecting your family right now, by scheduling a free consultation with an experienced attorney.