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Nursing Home Negligence Proposed Legislation and Personal Injuries

Posted on in Nursing Home Negligence

Nursing home negligence in Champaign can result in serious personal injuries and successful personal injury lawsuits. But how often do we actually know about nursing home neglect? In other words, how can we be certain that Illinois seniors are receiving proper care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in our state? Generally speaking, most of us rely upon state authorities to investigate when signs of nursing home abuse or neglect arise. However, according to a recent article from U.S. News & World Report, proposed legislation in Illinois aims to limit investigations into nursing home neglect.

What else do you need to know about this bill? And what can elderly Chicago residents do if they have sustained personal injuries as a result of nursing home negligence?

Bill Aims to Limit Investigations Following Anonymous Reports of Abuse

As the article explains, the recently proposed legislation would make it so that "authorities in Illinois would not investigate anonymous calls alleging abuse or neglect at nursing homes or assisted living facilities." Why would anyone be in favor of such a bill? In short, lawmakers who are in favor of it argue that it would "cut back on false accusations and harassment." However, elder safety advocates are very concerned about how the bill would impact seniors who have been victims of nursing home abuse and neglect in Chicago.

A spokesperson for AARP Illinois emphasized the potential harm of the bill, asking, "what difference does it make who made the complaint?" As the spokesperson highlighted, authorities investigate other anonymous complaints made to the police, and anonymous nursing home abuse calls should be treated in a similar fashion. Engaging in more investigations—rather than limiting the complaints that will be investigated—is particularly important given the recent news across the country concerning nursing home abuse and the use of social media.

Vulnerability and Making Complaints

What kinds of allegations typically are made in complaints, both anonymous and otherwise? The article cites the following:

  • Mistreatment by a staff member;
  • Violence against a patient by a staff member;
  • Medication errors;
  • Unsanitary living conditions;
  • Financial exploitation; and
  • Other forms of abuse and neglect.

When seniors in a facility are victims of abuse or neglect, they may feel particularly vulnerable and thus might prefer to make a complaint anonymously. Similarly, staff members at a facility might have concerns about their employment if they speak up, and therefore may feel more secure in making an anonymous complaint.

Those in opposition to the bill underscore that the harms associated with investigating anonymous complaints (such as economic harms that could be linked to false accusations and loss of revenue for a nursing home) are outweighed by the serious injuries that can result from nursing home abuse and neglect in Chicago. Indeed, the Illinois Department on Aging has publicly voiced its opposition to the bill, noting that "any attempts at removing the ability to report abuse or neglect anonymously is failing to put residents first."

Contact a Champaign Personal Injury Attorney

If you suspect that your elderly loved one's injuries resulted from nursing home abuse or neglect, an experienced personal injury lawyer in Champaign. An advocate at our firm can discuss your options with you today. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices for more information about our services.

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