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Reporting abuse and neglect at nursing homes

Reporting abuse and neglect at nursing homes

Since Illinois lawmakers passed the Abused and Neglected Long-Term Care Facility Residents Reporting Act, the Department of Public Health has been empowered to utilize the protective services offered by other agencies to protect abused residents from further harm. In this context, residents are individuals who not only live in but also receive individualized care from a long-term care facility, such as a mental health institution or a nursing home.

Pursuant to this piece of legislation, health care providers and social workers are required to report any and every instance of suspected nursing home abuse or neglect. Reporting such an instance, however, does not preclude witnesses of abuse or neglect at assisted living facilities from contacting law enforcement as well.

Furthermore, the law grants individuals who make a report or investigate a report immunity from both criminal and civil liability. In the event that the Department of Public Health uncovers evidence of potential criminal activity while investigating a report, the agency may refer the case to law enforcement officials. If, in turn, the report leads to a criminal prosecution, the individual who made the report may be called to testify at a judicial proceeding in connection with the alleged abuse or neglect.

Families of people who suffer injuries or illnesses as a result of negligent care at a long-term residential facility, such as a nursing home, may be entitled to compensation through civil action. A personal injury lawyer might review the case and answer questions regarding Illinois statutes pertaining to abuse and neglect of nursing home residents. In some cases, where there is substantial evidence to corroborate the allegations of abuse or neglect, the facility may opt to settle the case out of court. In that event, the lawyer may handle negotiations.

Source: Illinois General Assembly, “Health Facilities and Regulation (210 ILCS 45/) Nursing Home Care Act.“, October 29, 2014

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