Chicago Nursing Home Staff Failure Lawyers

Aggressive Attorneys for Nursing Home Staff Failure Victims

When nursing homes make mistakes that harm their residents, they deserve to be held financially responsible.

Since 1994, the attorneys at Malman Law have been helping nursing facility residents and their families fight for just compensation for nursing home staff administration failures. If you or a loved one has suffered serious physical, emotional, or psychological injuries as a result of negligent nursing home care in the Chicagoland area, we want to help you stand up for your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Common Examples of Nursing Home Staff Administration Failures

Many nursing facility residents rely on their caretakers to provide for their most basic needs, including food and medication. Among nursing homes’ many duties to their residents, these are perhaps both the most fundamental and the most important.

Unfortunately, whether due to negligence or intentional abuse, many staff members fail to provide adequate nutrition and properly administer residents’ medications. When this happens, victims can seek financial compensation for their injuries and losses.

Staff Administration Failure: Inadequate Nutrition and Hydration

With studies showing that as many as 85 percent of all residents may suffer from either malnutrition or dehydration, it is clear that many nursing facility staff members are not doing their jobs. For older adults, these conditions can be extremely dangerous, often putting them at increased risk for conditions such as bedsores and infectious diseases. Malnutrition and dehydration can also cause:

  • Anxiety
  • Beriberi
  • Depression
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Impaired cognitive functioning
  • Incontinence
  • Obesity
  • Scurvy
  • Weakened or compromised immune system
  • Complications relating to insulin resistance and diabetes

For elderly nursing home residents, these conditions can lead to further complications as well. In some cases, they can ultimately be fatal.

As a result, staff should be adequately trained to provide proper nutrition and hydration, and administrators should be ensuring that their homes’ residents are not becoming malnourished or dehydrated. Simply put, no one should suffer from malnutrition or dehydration while living in a nursing home, and those who do should seek prompt medical attention and hire a lawyer to fight for just compensation.

Staff Administration Failure: Medication Errors

Medication errors can lead to severe – and potentially fatal – complications as well. Here, too, staff members need to be adequately trained and fully qualified to administer patients’ medications. Nurses and other staff members who administer medications should:

  • Know when and how often each medication needs to be taken
  • Follow the instructions for providing medications with food or liquid
  • Avoid dangerous drug interactions, including those between prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
  • Ensure that residents receive all of their medications as prescribed
  • Keep track of residents’ medications and make sure they do not run out

Alarmingly, many nursing home staff members are either unable or unwilling to properly administer residents’ medications. Common medication errors include:

  • Accidental overdose or underdose
  • Confusing different medications
  • Failing to identify or respond to dangerous side effects
  • Purposefully overdosing patients to sedate them
  • Withholding medications as a form of punishment or abuse

Accidental and intentional medication errors can require immediate medical attention, but when staff members make these mistakes, they are often hesitant to report them out of fear of the consequences. Not only can this result in a potentially fatal delay in medical attention after an error, but it can also make finding evidence more difficult. However, at Malman Law, our attorneys and on-staff Registered Nurse are skilled at identifying medication errors and helping victims successfully pursue money damages for their losses.

Wrongful Care Resulting in Illness or Injury

Victims of wrongful care in nursing homes often suffer from serious illnesses and injuries. While it can be difficult to know for certain whether a medical condition is the result of negligence or abuse, there are some tell-tale signs that residents and their families can watch for. However, if you even suspect wrongful care, we urge you to speak with one of our attorneys right away.

Some injuries simply should not occur in the nursing home setting in the absence of wrongful care. For example, if you or your loved one is suffering from any of the following conditions in a nursing home, there is a strong chance that wrongful care is to blame:
  • Bedsores
  • Malnutrition
  • Sexually-transmitted disease or genital injury
  • Symptoms associated with medication errors
  • Unexplained injuries

Wrongful Care Resulting in Death

In the worst cases, wrongful care in nursing homes results in death. While reliable numbers are hard to come by, it is widely acknowledged that thousands of nursing home residents die every year from illnesses and injuries that could have been avoided with appropriate care.

Bedsores, malnutrition, sepsis, choking, and other treatable conditions can all be fatal without adequate attention. If you have suddenly or unexpectedly lost a loved one who was living in a nursing home, our attorneys can help you find out what happened and pursue just compensation on your behalf.

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Know Your Rights!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the federal rights of a nursing home resident?

Residents of facilities that participate in the Medicare program enjoy the following federal rights:

  • Freedom from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse.
  • Freedom from physical or chemical restraints, except restraints imposed for medical reasons or to insure the safety of the patient or others. Restraints imposed for reasons of discipline or convenience are illegal and are considered abuse.
  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • The right to manage your own finances or to appoint someone else to do so.
  • The right to privacy as long as it doesn’t interfere with the health, safety, or rights of others.
  • The right to use one’s personal belongings as long as it doesn’t interfere with the health, safety, or rights of others.
  • The right to information about your medical condition and any treatments.
  • The right to refuse treatment (as long as you have the mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of such a refusal).
  • The right to use your own doctor.
  • The right to set your own daily schedule.
  • The right to as much independence as your medical condition allows you.
  • The right to a safe and comfortable environment.

Most of these rights also apply under state law, even for nursing homes that do not participate in the Medicare program.

Can I sue the nursing home even if my loved one has no written contract with them?

Yes, you can, because human rights don’t need contractual support. If you were hit by a car, for example, you wouldn’t have to prove that you had a contract with the driver not to hit you in order to win a lawsuit against him or her – you could sue under general tort law principles, just as you can in cases of abuse and neglect in a nursing facility.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act defines the rights under state law that your loved one enjoys with or without a contractual arrangement with the nursing home. Federal regulations also apply if the institution participates in the Medicare program. Proving that the facility violated an applicable regulation will go a long way toward establishing their liability for compensatory damages. In cases of outrageous conduct, you might even be able to collect punitive damages against the nursing home. Of course, if there is a contract, a contract claim could be added to other claims arising from the abuse or neglect.

Where do I file a complaint against nursing home abuse or neglect?

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is the state agency responsible for enforcing the law in favor of the more than 100,000 nursing home residents residing in over 1,200 facilities in Illinois. The IDPH licenses these facilities, conducts inspections at least annually, and cooperates with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for eligibility to participate in federal payment reimbursement programs.

The IDPH maintains a Nursing Home Hotline (800-252-4343) for complaints. Upon receiving a complaint of abuse or neglect, the IDPH’s Bureau of Long Term Care may launch an investigation. Although it does not participate in lawsuits, it can sanction or even close down homes that violate the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act or federal regulations. The results of its investigation can be used as evidence in a civil lawsuit against a home or an employee.