What standard of care do nursing homes in Illinois owe their patients?

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In September 2014, the Illinois attorney general’s office asked state lawmakers to allow families to install cameras in their loved ones’ nursing home rooms. According to the Chicago Tribune, the attorney general said the devices could help to deter abuse and neglect. The state currently allows camera installations, though it is possible for individual facilities to ban them. As a Lake County nursing home abuse lawyer may know, the Illinois Department of Public Health receives an average of 19,000 calls a year that allege such wrongdoing. Families should be aware of the standard of care that these facilities should provide their residents.

Abiding by the federal code

In order for a nursing home to be eligible for funding from federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, it must comply with certain guidelines. Under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, long-term care facilities are expected to follow a standard of care outlined as the following:

  • Maintain the dignity and respect of residents
  • Provide services necessary to help residents maintain good hygiene and nutrition
  • Put a comprehensive care plan in place for each resident
  • Promote a good quality of life
  • Prevent residents from developing pressure sores and treat those who do
  • Provide adequate supervision and assistive tools to prevent accidents

The code also calls for nursing homes to provide appropriate treatment if a resident has hearing or vision problems. Further, facilities must maintain easily accessible and accurate medical records for each patient

State mandates

In addition to federal guidelines, nursing homes must follow any requirements set forth by the state. As a Lake County nursing home abuse lawyer would know, there are a number of public and private agencies that inspect these facilities. For example, the Illinois Department of Health reports that each year, it completes roughly 1,300 on-site inspections to review medical records and staff and interview patients and their families.

When a nursing home in Illinois is found to have violated patient safety or another code, the health department will allow the facility to rebut the deficiency. If the citation remains, the facility has 10 days put together a written plan of how staff will correct the problem. If the issue poses a serious risk, the health department can demand immediate action.

According to the Illinois Department of Health, the most common penalty that facilities in the state receive is a $10,000 fine. Any fines collected are placed into a fund that is used to fund the monitoring of health care facilities. Families may also choose to take their own legal action as well.

People with questions about this matter should consult with a Lake County nursing home abuse lawyer.