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Nursing Home Abuse: Your Guide to Resident Rights

Did you move a loved one into an assisted living facility in the Chicago area? If so, you need to know that you can rely on that facility to provide top-tier care. All nursing homes have a duty to ensure that they are properly staffed and that they protect their residents. Under federal law and Illinois state law, nursing home residents have important legal rights. Here, our Chicago nursing home abuse attorney provides a comprehensive guide to resident rights in Illinois. 

Federal and State Legal Protections for Nursing Home Residents

By definition, nursing home residents are vulnerable. They need additional care and support. There are federal and state laws in place to ensure that facilities provide a healthy, safe environment. Nursing home residents in Chicago and elsewhere in Cook County have rights under the Illinois Department On Aging (IDA) Residents Rights in Long-Term Care Facilities and the federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. It is useful for both residents and their families to have an understanding of these rights. Here are seven key protections to be aware of: 

  • Information: To start, a nursing home resident should not be left in the dark on their own care. Residents have the right to be fully informed about their care plan. Along with other things, this typically includes access to all their medical records and information about fees and services in a language they understand. Transparency is a must. If a nursing home resident can no longer make his or her own decisions, a trusted loved one can help. 
  • Participation: Beyond information, nursing home residents are also entitled to participate in care/life decisions to the maximum extent is reasonable given their condition. Every resident has the right to participate in their own care planning and decision-making. This includes the right to be involved in discussions about care options, treatment risks, and the alternatives that are available. 
  • Privacy: One of the primary reasons why so many people are reluctant to move into a nursing home—even when it is the best option—is because of concerns about privacy. There should be a reasonable degree of privacy within a facility. Indeed, it is a critical right that encompasses not only the confidentiality of personal and medical records but also some general respect for personal space. 
  • Visits: For elderly and other vulnerable people, social isolation is extremely dangerous. It can cause serious medical health issues and it can even contribute to physical medical complications. With that in mind, it is important that nursing home residents in Chicago are able to preserve their community. Residents have the right to receive visitors of their choosing at any reasonable time, including family, friends, clergy, or any others who provide support and companionship. Nursing homes should facilitate these rights. 
  • Independence: A person moves into a nursing home in Chicago, at least in part, because they need some additional support. With that being said, an assisted living facility is about just that: Assistance. It is not about full loss of independence. Quite the contrary, nursing home residents should be supported in exercising their independence as much as possible. Along with other types, this  includes making choices about their daily life, such as their schedule, activities, and meals. Facilities should encourage and facilitate independence. 
  • Dignity: Dignity matters. Every nursing home resident is entitled to dignity and respect. Both Illinois law and federal law grant nursing home residents dignity as a legally protected right. Indeed, upholding the dignity of residents is a core principle of nursing home care. Assisted living facilities and all staff members should treat each resident with respect and courtesy—no matter their age, medical condition, or need for support.
  • Complaint: A nursing home resident has the right to complain—either internally or externally—with their rights having been violated or they otherwise have concerns about the treatment that they are receiving. Residents have the right to voice grievances without fear of retaliation. All nursing homes in Chicago must provide their residents with access to clear procedures for filing complaints and receive prompt responses. Ensuring a reliable complaint resolution process is crucial for resident quality of life. 

Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Must Be Addressed Immediately

Any suspicions of nursing home abuse and/or nursing home neglect must be taken seriously. Abuse or neglect within an assisted living facility in Chicago is more than just a violation of your loved one’s rights, it is a health and safety matter. Abuse or neglect undermines quality of life. It can put an already vulnerable person at terrible risk. Be sure to follow-up immediately if you believe that your loved one has been subject to abuse or neglect within a nursing home. A Chicago nursing home negligence attorney can help you determine the best course of action. 

Why Trust Our Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Every nursing home patient deserves a safe, healthy environment. Sadly, far too many licensed assisted living facilities fail to live up to their most basic duties. Residents can suffer severe, even life-threatening trauma. At Kennedy Watkins LLC, our team of Chicago attorneys fight tirelessly to protect the rights and the interests of victims and families. We encourage you to review our history of verdicts and settlements and to contact our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys directly with any questions or concerns about a specific case. Through a nursing home negligence claim, compensation may be available for medical costs, relocation costs, and pain and suffering. 

Contact Our Chicago, IL Nursing Home Negligence Attorney for Immediate Help

At Kennedy Watkins LLC, our Chicago nursing home negligence lawyers are skilled, experienced, and compassionate advocates for injured victims. If your vulnerable loved one was subject to abuse or neglect within an assisted living facility, we are more than ready to help. Get in touch with us now for a free, no strings attached initial case review. From our Chicago office, we take on nursing home abuse and neglect claims in Cook County and all across Northern Illinois. 

Attorney Watkins
Attorney Watkins Attorney Kennedy



Attorney Kennedy