Chicago Assisted Living Facility Accident Lawyer
If you have entrusted a family member to an assisted living facility (ALF), you expect the facility’s administration and staff to fulfill their obligations towards your loved one.
While ALF residents do not require as much care as those in nursing homes, they still need a caregiver’s assistance in their daily life. A facility’s negligence or abuse can lead to a resident’s injury or death – and sadly, this happens all too often.
In Illinois, talk to us at Willens Injury Law Offices if you believe that your loved one suffered unreasonably at an assisted living facility. Your family may have every right to pursue a case to obtain compensation and to hold the facility accountable.
What You Should Know About Illinois Assisted Living Laws
It’s important for elders, disabled persons, and their families to be aware of their rights when it comes to assisted living. Here are some of the responsibilities of an assisted living facility in Illinois, as mandated by the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Establishment Code.
[su_service title=”ALFs can only accept a resident if they can provide for them.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]An ALF in Illinois is barred from accepting or keeping a resident if the facility cannot provide the service that the person needs. Unfortunately, some ALFs disregard this rule – they take on individuals whose condition they are unable to care for, or they keep their residents even when their resources are no longer adequate.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”State licenses are required.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]A facility that has 17 or more unrelated residents must have a license from the State of Illinois. This helps ensure that these facilities are compliant with regulations. An ALF administrator is also required to pass a test and obtain an Illinois state license. Before committing to an assisted living residence or community, you’ll want to check if it has the appropriate licenses.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”24-hour services must be available.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]A licensed ALF has to be staffed enough to provide 24-hour services for health and personal care. When residents need assistance at any time of day – such as with their eating, hygiene, and medical concerns – they should be able to access it right away.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”The individual service plan must be followed.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]Each ALF resident has to have a written service plan which outlines the specific care they need, from medication to diet to special personnel requirements. This plan is the basis for the service delivery contract between the resident and the facility. That plan is signed upon admission. The facility is then bound to adhere to the individual plan of each resident.[/su_service]
Aside from these specific state rules, assisted living facilities must uphold professional standards. These include treating their residents with patience and compassion, and keeping their premises safe and navigable.
Assisted Living Abuse And Negligence Lead To Injuries
It is regrettable that many ALF residents experience various kinds of abuse while in a facility. Some suffer from physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. There are also those who are victims of financial exploitation. Very commonly there are elders who suffer from the facility’s passive neglect, which is a form of mistreatment that is also forbidden by law.
Apart from these, a facility’s failure to uphold their required standard of care can also harm residents. This is called negligence, and it is a frequent basis of many ALF lawsuits.
Take a look at these familiar scenarios that result in resident injuries and which may call for legal action against a facility:
[su_service title=”Tripping or falling.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]One in every four seniors in the US suffers from falls each year. The results aren’t always minor concussions – sometimes, they can be as serious as traumatic brain injury (TBI). In assisted living residences, this can happen if the premises are not kept in a safe order and if clients who are at risk are not supervised properly.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”Medication errors.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]Residents in ALFs typically have crucial medication needs. When a facility caregiver fails to follow a patient’s service plan or makes a careless mistake when administering medication, the patient’s health could be in peril. A facility’s administration and staff may also be held liable if they did not adhere to the medication storage, controlling, and documentation ordered in a contract.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”Malnutrition.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]Providing each resident three meals a day is mandatory in Illinois ALFs. On top of this, a facility must meet the particular dietary requirements that each resident has specified in their plan. A resident’s health is at risk when the facility fails this obligation.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”Choking.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]ALF residents do not require constant attendance like in nursing homes, but due to their advanced age and health conditions, they have higher risk of choking. Thus, a facility must take measures to minimize this risk, such as by preparing a dysphagia diet (softer foods) and by supervising those who have difficulty swallowing. When such measures are inadequate, adult choking can lead to serious injuries like brain damage or even death.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”Bedsores.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]Also called pressure ulcers, bedsores are skin lesions that develop when a person stays in one position for a long time. Caregivers can prevent these in the elderly by changing the resident’s positions frequently and by keeping them well-nourished and clean. In reality, however, many facilities are understaffed or staffed by unqualified personnel, who in turn fail to provide the needed attention of the elderly.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”Abuse injuries.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]Bruises, cuts, burns, and emotional withdrawal are only some of the many symptoms of elder abuse. Don’t discount any suspicious change in your senior family member – look for other abuse signs and consult a lawyer on your options to protect your loved one.[/su_service]
Was Your Loved One Harmed In An ALF?
Do you suspect that your loved one was injured, abused, or neglected in an assisted living facility? It is best that you look closer into their conditions.
According to the National Council on Aging, as many as 5 million US seniors suffer abuse each year but only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse is reported. People with disabilities face a similar situation. A five-year investigation by the Chicago Tribune found at least 1,311 cases of previously undocumented harm in Illinois group homes for adults with disabilities. This number was hundreds more than what was previously stated in government reports.
Don’t overlook or dismiss possible injury to your vulnerable loved one. Sometimes, families do this because the symptoms don’t always look alarming. It can be as subtle as missed medications, unusual weight loss, or a slight change in behavior. Be aware and look out for the various signs and symptoms of ALF injuries:
[su_service title=”Physical Injury.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]Common signs include bumps, bruises, cuts, pressure marks, broken bones, and burns. Note that while physical injuries often come from abuse, they may also result from negligence (the facility’s failure to uphold their obligations). For instance, the lack of mobility aids in a facility can lead to residents tripping or falling.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”Sexual Abuse.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]Watch out for behavioral changes such as flinching, panicking, and withdrawal from usual interests. These may come with physical signs like pelvic injuries, bleeding, and stained or torn underwear.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”Passive Neglect.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]In this kind of maltreatment, caregivers do not actively hurt residents but fail to give them their vital needs like food, clothing, and medical care. When this happens, you may notice your loved one’s poor hygiene, malnutrition, unusual weight loss, bedsores, or missed medications. Check the resident’s provisions for unwashed sheets, worn clothing, or clogged breathing tubes.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”Willful Deprivation.” icon=”icon: wheelchair” icon_color=”#f26522″]There are cases where caregivers deliberately deny the residents their provisions. The physical signs of neglect may exhibit themselves as poor hygiene, unexpected weight loss, and health complaints like stomach aches. These may be accompanied by behavioral signs such as your loved one’s hostility or anxiety around the staff.[/su_service]
What To Do If Your Loved One Is Injured In An Illinois ALF
If your loved one is in clear and imminent danger, don’t hesitate to call 911. The facility nurses or staff may tell you that they are not authorized to call for an emergency transfer without their supervisor’s approval. However, you are not subject to such internal policies. You have the right to call for help if you need immediate rescue for your loved one.
In non-emergency cases, you may try to talk politely to the staff or administrators first. Perhaps they were not aware of the injury and are more than willing to resolve it with you. In reality, however, it can be difficult to resolve a case smoothly with the facility. You will need to contact Illinois authorities.
Illinois Hotlines for Abuse Or Neglect Injuries
- If your loved one has a mental disability and resides in a home operated by the Department of Human Services (DHS), call the 24-hour hotline of the Office of the Inspector General: 1-800-368-1463 Voice/TTY.
- If your loved one is aged 60 or older, or if they have a mental disability but is not served by the DHS, call the 24-hour hotline of Adult Protective Services: 1-866-800-1409, 1-888-206-1327 (TTY).
- If you have a complaint about a supportive living facility, call the Illinois SLF Complaint Hotline: 1-800-226-0768.
Whichever the case, make sure to document as much as you can. Take photographs of your loved one’s injuries and the conditions at the residence. Gather a resident’s medical records, weight logs, receipts, and other relevant papers. Take notes from your conversations with the staff or management. These could be useful in supporting your injury report or negligence claim.
You will also want to talk to a reliable, experienced attorney. Even if you are not considering any legal action at this point, your lawyer can explain your loved one’s rights, what they are entitled to, and how to ensure that they are protected. Should you decide to pursue an ALF claim or lawsuit, your attorney will also be there to determine your best legal avenues and represent you in your case.
Talk To Us At Willens Law
It is often confusing to deal with your loved one’s injury at an ALF. On top of the emotional and financial distress in your family, you also have to make sense of the complicated rules surrounding the resident’s stay at the facility. It’s a maze that you have to navigate since you want your loved one to get the care and protection that they deserve, and you want the offending party to be held accountable.
Let us help. We at Willens Injury Law Offices are effective in handling elderly injury cases, and have been trusted by Illinois families for decades now. We’re ready to provide you with legal advice and representation.
Start by talking to us about your senior loved one’s assisted living situation. Your initial consultation with Willens Injury Law Offices is absolutely free and confidential. Call us at (888) 445-1446 today.