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How to Report Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Nurse Yelling an Old Man Finding out that a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home is a heartbreaking situation. Devastated families call us, asking our nursing home attorneys what to do.

First, you need to make sure that your loved one is out of harm’s way. Get him or her the medical attention necessary, and if possible, move him or her to another facility as soon as it is feasible to do so.

The second thing you should do is tell an experienced nursing home abuse attorney what has happened to your loved one. It is possible that you may have a lawsuit against the facility for the injuries suffered by your family member and you need an attorney to start an investigation right away. At the same time, document to your best ability the abuse or neglect. For example, take photos of bruises, bedsores or broken bones. Photograph any other evidence you notice such as broken or missing safety devices, and collect medical records of injuries and treatment. The next step should be to report the abuse or neglect to the proper authorities.

Inform Management and Staff at the Nursing Home of Your Suspicions

In Illinois, a registered nursing home is legally obligated to provide quality nursing care and a safe environment for your loved one. If they fail in this duty, you are entitled to question the staff and report any suspected abuse or neglect to management.

As soon as you suspect a problem, ask to talk to the following people and explain the situation:

  • The nursing home administration
  • The staff supervisor
  • The director of nursing
  • The social worker
  • Your loved one’s doctor
Report the Suspected Abuse to the Proper State Agencies

Doctor Mistreating Senior Woman If you believe that a family member who lives in a nursing home is being abused, neglected or exploited financially, you should call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Nursing Home Complaint Hotline: 1-800-252-4343. After receiving a report of suspected abuse or neglect, the IDPH performs an independent investigation, determines if the nursing home violated the nursing home care act or any other laws, then issues a report and determines whether the facility should receive a fine or other sanction.

It is also possible to file your complaint with the IDPH online at: Complaint Form.

Residents who live in Supportive Living Facilities (SLFs) rather than nursing homes, can call the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services' SLF Complaint Hotline: 1-800-226-0768 to report abuse.

Another option for getting help is the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Illinois Senior Helpline: 1-800-252-8966. The job of the staff and volunteers at this helpline is to protect seniors and to prevent nursing home residents from becoming the victims of abuse or neglect. Trained community ombudsmen advocate for improved quality of care for nursing home residents; provide information on resident’s rights and long-term care options, and investigate complaints and concerns. They strive to empower seniors and make every effort to assist, represent, and intervene on behalf of nursing home residents.

Families can also report suspected abuse to the Illinois Department on Aging’s 24-Hour Adult Protective Services Hotline 1-866-800-1409. Adult Protective Services caseworkers conduct investigations and work with seniors to resolve cases of abuse and neglect. Trained caseworkers respond promptly to all reports within 24 hours in life-threatening situations, within 72 hours for most abuse and neglect situations, and in approximately 7 days for emotional abuse or financial exploitation. The caseworkers contact the victim and determine what services are necessary to stop the abuse or neglect.

Be prepared to answer questions about:

  1. The name, address and phone number of the alleged victim;
  2. The alleged victim’s age, sex, and condition;
  3. The alleged abuser’s name, sex, age, and relationship to the victim;
  4. What happened to the resident? What are the specific allegations of abuse or neglect?
  5. When did the incident or incidents occur?
  6. The name and location of the facility;
  7. Where in the facility did the incident occur?
  8. How was the patient harmed?
  9. Whether the alleged victim is in immediate danger;
  10. How did the facility address the issue?
  11. Whether the victim knows of your report and the best time to contact the person
  12. Your name, address, and phone number if you wish to receive notification of the outcome of the complaint;
  13. The names of any others with information about the abuse.

All complaints of suspected nursing home abuse or neglect are taken very seriously and investigated. Family members and friends may be interviewed. The alleged victim’s medical history, as well as the nursing home’s records, will also be reviewed.

Who May File a Report?

The resident, family members, friends, caregivers, staff or advocacy groups may all file a report. Complaints may even be filed anonymously.

Is the Complaint Confidential?

The Department will not reveal the name of the complainant to the facility. All reports and records are subject to strict confidentiality provisions.

If you Suspect Abuse, Call The Collins Law Firm for Help

Our experienced nursing home attorney can help you recognize the warning signs of abuse and neglect. We can conduct a thorough investigation, gather evidence and make sure the responsible parties are held accountable. If you notice physical signs of abuse or neglect or see behavioral changes in your loved one, call our nursing home attorneys at (630) 527-1595 for a confidential, FREE CONSULTATION. We are here to assist you and make sure your loved one is safe. Moreover, we have a track record of securing justice for families just like yours.

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