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Elder Law - Nursing Home Resident Rights

Nursing Home Resident Rights

There soon will be over two million Americans living in over 15,000 nursing homes, and the aging of the babyboomers is likely to keep these numbers rising. With its inconsistent record of providing adequate care and treatment to residents, the nursing home industry has been subjected to legislation that sets minimum standards at both the federal and state levels.

The most significant of these laws is found in the Medicare and Medicaid sections of the federal Code. While the problem is national in scope and therefore has prompted federal legislation, Congress also is requiring each of the states to enact a Bill of Resident Rights with protections that are at least as strong as those in the federal statutes.

The federal statutes are lengthy and detailed. Advice of legal counsel is necessary to ensure that all of the rights of a particular resident are being safeguarded. Such rights cover a wide range, including such items as freedom to choose a physician, freedom from abuse and restraints, privacy, confidentiality of medical and personal records, prompt resolution of grievances, reasonable accommodation of individual needs and preferences, equal access to quality care, evenhanded treatment of Medicare and Medicaid recipients, and many other aspects relating to the daily living and treatment of a resident by an elder care facility and its attendant caregivers.

Illinois has enacted a comprehensive Nursing Home Care Act that governs the licensing, care, duties, responsibilities, liabilities, and penalties that apply to nursing homes in the state. This law was passed to address many of the abuses that unfortunately have plagued nursing home facilities, ranging from physical abuse and neglect to theft and negligence. The Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health is charged with receiving reports, investigating such reports, and policing conduct that is prohibited by the Act. The Act also supplies a civil remedy to a resident whose rights are violated. The civil remedy includes actual damages, costs, and attorney's fees. Finally, the Illinois Criminal Code even makes it a felony to abuse or neglect the resident of a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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