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Understanding the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act in Illinois

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Understanding the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act in Illinois

The Elder Abuse and Neglect Act, which became law in 1988, was implemented under the management of the Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA). The Act directs the IDOA to organize an intervention program that champions the cause of abused and neglected elders and alleged victims as well.

Here are some highlights of the Act you need to know before hiring an Illinois nursing home lawyer.

The Purpose of the Act

In order for local agencies to extend support and aid to elders who are or may be abused and neglected by family, household members or caregivers, the Act ensures that they get the financial support they need from the IDOA.

With enough funding, a local agency can then respond to reports of elder abuse or neglect and take the necessary actions to protect him or her.

Filing a Report

The identity of those who file a report on behalf of the elder, or under the belief that such action is in the elder’s best interest, cannot be revealed by the designated local agency or by the IDOA, unless with a court order or that person’s consent.

As of January 1, 1999, the law specifically requires a certain group of individuals, called mandated reporters, to make reports of suspected cases of senior abuse and neglect.

Mandated reporters are professionals in fields as diverse as medicine, nursing, social services, elder care, and law enforcement. These professionals are exempt from any criminal or civil liability, or professional disciplinary action.

Such mandatory reporting applies only when the senior is unable to seek help for himself or herself because of dysfunction. Local agencies and the IDOA continue to encourage voluntary reporting among seniors who have the ability to report themselves.

For those who suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, consult an Illinois nursing home attorney for a detailed review of your loved one’s case.

Responding to Reports

The Act lays down the procedure on how local agencies should handle a report of abuse. Upon receipt, the designated agency should make a face-to-face contact with the alleged victim of abuse or neglect. The agency’s first visit to the elder’s residence may also include interviews with family, household members or other people who may have knowledge of the senior’s condition. No person, including family members, has the right to stop case workers from visiting or meeting the senior.
If there’s probable cause to believe that abuse or neglect has occurred, the designated local agency must plan a service care blueprint and discuss it with the senior to meet his or her needs. Recognizing the senior’s right to self-determination, his or her consent is necessary before the agency can deliver a service.

Seniors, or people aging 60 or above, have the right to be taken care of. While Illinois has several statutes that protect senior citizens, The Elder Abuse and Neglect Act is the most important. The Act ensures that seniors get the quality of care and help they need especially when it comes to resolving abusive situations. The IDOA and local agencies work hand and hand to protect seniors from abuse and neglect.

If you suspect a case of elder abuse or neglect, you can call the IDOA hotline at 800-252-8966, 8:30 to 5:00 Monday through Friday, or to 800-279-0400 evenings, weekends, and holidays.

If you need legal assistance, make sure to make an appointment with an Illinois nursing home abuse attorney at Malman Law.

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