Nursing Home Abuse

Your Rights Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, 210 ILCS 45, is intended to protect the rights of nursing home residents who are vulnerable to exploitation, neglect, or abuse. Under the statute, nursing home residents generally have all of the rights that any other person has under Illinois law, federal law, and the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions. You can’t be deprived of those rights solely because you live in a nursing home.

If you believe you or your loved one’s rights under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act have been violated, do not hesitate to reach out to a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.

You can reach us at (312) 236-2900 or through our online form to schedule a free consultation.

Your Rights Under the Nursing Home Care Act

Your rights cannot be abridged (210 ILCS 45/2-101). You cannot be deprived of the rights and privileges granted to you by the Constitution, federal law, and Illinois law by a nursing facility.

You have the right to be informed of Medicaid spousal impoverishment rules (210 ILCS 45/2-101.1). You and your spouse have the right to divide your assets when one of you needs Medicaid payment to cover nursing home expenses. The spouse who does not need Medicaid is allowed to keep assets up to a certain dollar amount. Nursing facilities are required to notify you of these rights and how to apply for Medicaid.

You have the right to manage your own finances (210 ILCS 45/2-102). You must be given access to any money that a nursing home holds for you, and the nursing home must have your permission to spend any of your money. Anything more than $100 has to be placed in an interest-bearing account, and the nursing home must supply you or your representative with a quarterly statement regarding your finances. The exception to this rule is if you or a guardian give the administrator written permission to manage your affairs.

You have a right to your personal property (210 ILCS 45/2-103). You have the right to wear your own clothes and use your own personal property in your living quarters unless there’s a medical reason that you should not. Any medical reason has to be documented by a physician. Any clothing the nursing home provides must fit you. The nursing home is required to provide adequate storage space for your personal property and to provide security for valuables to protect your personal property from loss or theft. You must be given access to your property.

You have the right to use your own physician, see your medical records, and participate in your own care (210 ILCS 45/2-104). You have the right to use your own doctor at your expense or the expense of your health insurance. When you use your own doctor, the nursing home is not liable for any medical malpractice committed by that doctor. You also have the right to complete and current medical information, including any diagnoses or treatments, in terms you can reasonably be expected to understand. To the extent you are able, you have the right to participate and make decisions regarding your medical care. You have the right not to be subjected to experimental treatments without your informed written consent. Any experimental treatment you agree to must be authorized and monitored by an institutional review board. Any treatment must be administered as ordered by a physician, and a new physician’s orders will be reviewed by the facility’s director first. If you are an individual with female reproductive organs and considered to be of child-bearing age, you must receive routine obstetrical and gynecological evaluations and necessary prenatal care. Additionally, you have the right to refuse any treatment.

You have the right to an evaluation upon new ownership of the facility (210 ILCS 45/2-104.1). When a private facility is purchased by a new private owner after the facility’s license was suspended or revoked, the new owner must thoroughly evaluate the conditions and needs of each resident as if each resident were newly admitted.

You have the right to maintain a living will (210 ILCS 45/2-104.2). If you have a “do not resuscitate” order or living will that indicates your desire regarding life-saving treatments, the nursing home must keep and honor your wishes. Every facility is required to have policies and procedures in place that ensure the implementation of your wishes.

You have a right to rescreening when admitted with a serious mental illness (210 ILCS 45/2-104.3). If you spend 90 days or more in a nursing home after being admitted with a serious mental illness, then you must be rescreened by the Department of Human Services or a designee after 90 days, 6 months, and then annually to assess your need for continued care. You must be advised of all other options for your care.

You have a right to respect and privacy in medical care (210 ILCS 45/2-105). You have the right to confidential and discreet medical treatment and personal care. Anyone not directly involved in your medical care must have your permission to be present at an exam, discussion, consultation, or treatment.

You have the right to be free from unnecessary physical or chemical restraints (210 ILCS 45/2-106). A physician must order the use of restraints, and the medical need for a physical or chemical restraint must be documented. You or your authorized representative must provide informed consent to the use of restraints unless needed for brief periods for life-saving care. Any restrains applied must be done so by a person trained with that particular restraint. Whenever a restraint is used, you have the right for a person or organization of your choosing notified within 24 hours. Restraints may not be used for purposes of punishment or convenience. If you utilize sign language to communicate, you must be given the free use of your hands for brief periods each hour.

You have the right not to be given unnecessary drugs (210 ILCS 45/2-106.1). A medical facility cannot give you any unnecessary drugs. You may not be given excessive doses of any drug or administered a drug for an excessive duration without a medical need and without appropriate monitoring. You or your guardian must give informed consent to the use of any psychotropic drugs, which include antidepressant, antimanic, and antianxiety drugs that modify behavior, except in cases of emergency. You cannot be refused residency at the facility for refusing psychotropic drugs unless the facility can demonstrate that this would put other staff members’, residents’, or visitors’ health and safety at risk.

You have a right to accept or deny an identification wristlet (210 ILCS 45/2-106a). A facility can use an identification wristlet upon a doctor’s orders. You may be required to wear an identifying wristlet if you reside in an Alzheimer’s disease unit and have a history of wandering. However, your guardian or power of attorney can direct that the wristlet be removed.

You have the right to be free from all forms of abuse and neglect (210 ILCS 45/2-107). As a nursing home resident, you have the right to be free from abuse and neglect. It is the duty of any staff member of the facility who becomes aware of neglect or abuse to report it.

You have a right to private communications and visits and to live with your spouse (210 ILCS 45/2-108). A nursing home may not impede your receipt of emails, mail, or telephone calls, and may not censor your communications unless there is a documented reason, such as to protect you from harassment. The nursing home must make sure that you can receive visitors during reasonable hours unless there is a documented medical reason why you should not see visitors. The nursing home must provide space for visits, and staff members must knock before entering your room except in cases of an emergency. If you and your spouse reside in the same facility, the administrator must allow you to live in the same room unless no room is available, or it is not medically safe.

You have the right to exercise your religion freely (210 ILCS 45/2-109). A nursing home must make accommodations for your religion and arrange for you to attend religious services of your choice. A nursing home may not force any religious practice or service on you.

You have a right to see your attorney, social worker, and other guests (210 ILCS 45/2-110). Your lawyer, any public agency employee, any law enforcement officer, or member of the general public must be permitted access to you during reasonable hours when the visit is for the purpose of representing you, advising you of your rights, or making services available to you. Visitors must notify the nursing home of their presence and identify themselves to you and receive your permission to enter your living space. However, an administrator can restrict a person’s access if it would harm your health and safety, threaten the security of your property, or their visit is for a commercial purpose.

You have the right to be discharged from the nursing home (210 ILCS 45/2-111). If you or your guardian give the nursing home administrator, doctor, or nurse written notice that you want to leave the facility, you must be discharged. The nursing home cannot keep you there without your consent.

You have a right to present grievances (210 ILCS 45/2-112). You must have the ability to present grievances on your own behalf or on behalf of another resident to the nursing home administrator, Long-Term Care Facility Board, or another appropriate agency. The nursing home may not retaliate against you with a threat of discharge or other reprisal. The nursing home must provide you with contact information for the appropriate office to present a grievance.

You have the right to refuse to perform labor (210 ILCS 45/2-113). The nursing home is not allowed to require you to work for the facility. You have the right to refuse to perform any labor.

You have a right to be free from unlawful discrimination (210 ILCS 45/2-114). The nursing home or its employees or representatives may not discriminate against you in violation of Illinois laws.

You have the right to electronically monitor your room (210 ILCS 45/2-115). The facility must permit you to electronically monitoring of your room through devices placed in the room pursuant to the Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act.

Has a Nursing Home Violated Your Rights Under the Nursing Home Care Act?

If you or a loved one has experienced a potential violation of any of these rights, you may have a claim for compensation of any actual injuries or damages suffered. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act allows you to sue the facility’s owner or licensee. You may be able to receive compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, loss of normal life, and attorney fees.

An experienced Chicago nursing home lawyer can talk to you about what happened and whether you may have a claim. Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation today.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900