The Nursing Home Care Act is found in the Illinois Statutes at 210 ILCS 45/1-101, et seq. This is the Act that governs the law that applies to the mistreatment of residents in most nursing homes. It defines “abuse” as any physical or mental injury, including injury caused by sexual assault, that is not accidental. It also defines “neglect” as a nursing home’s failure to provide, “adequate medical care, mental health treatment, psychiatric rehabilitation, personal care, or assistance with activities of daily living that is necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness of a resident.”
The liability of a nursing home is stated in very broad terms under the Nursing Home Care Act. Under the Act, the owner and licensee are to pay money damages to a resident, or where the resident is deceased, to his heirs, for any intentional or negligent act or omission of their agents or employees which injures the resident. Thus, most injuries that result from abuse or neglect result in money damages to the resident or his or her loved ones.
Having said this, there are many nuances to the law. For example, there is a specific definition of which facilities are governed by the Nursing Home Care Act. Not every nursing home will necessarily be subject to the rules of the Nursing Home Care Act, although if a loved one is injured in some facility there are usually laws that operate to redress injury. Under the Nursing Home Care Act, there are also specific rules and regulations that govern minimum standards, including staffing requirements, construction of a facility (including protection from fire and other hazards), sanitary conditions, diet, and development of evacuation plans in case of emergency. How and when restraints are to be used are also covered by the Act. Additionally, and importantly, the Act provides that a Nursing Home is not allowed to retaliate against a resident who reports abuse or neglect. As a result, although this is no guarantee that there will not be retaliation should you report abuse or neglect, you should rest somewhat more comfortably if you do decide to report mistreatment. Of course, having a lawyer on your side when you do this should help to protect against retaliation. Ed Fox & Associates, Ltd. are experienced lawyers who can help with this.
There are also guidelines found in Illinois Statutes and Regulations that govern what type of facility for the elderly is qualified to provide care for the specific needs of a particular resident. For example, assisted living facilities are not qualified to care for residents that require certain types of skilled care and, in fact, can be liable to a resident that the assisted living facility claims it can care for, but is unable to because the resident is unable to care for herself in many activities of daily living