Lawsuit: Illinois nursing home failed to supervise victim of fatal fall

A recent lawsuit alleges that an Illinois nursing home failed to protect an elderly man who fell to his death.

Nursing homes in Illinois are expected to provide care for those who can no longer fully care for themselves. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are 1,200 such institutions across the state, where staff at these facilities are tasked with ensuring that residents’ physical and emotional health are addressed.

When these facilities fail to serve patients, tragedies can result. One recent lawsuit illustrates the devastating effects of nursing home neglect.

The claim

On Aug. 7, 2016, a resident of a nursing home facility in Illinois fell from a window on the fifth floor of the building, which resulted in his death. According to the Cook County Record, just a few weeks later, the woman in charge of his estate filed a lawsuit stating that the window fixture was hazardous. Further, the lawsuit states that the nursing home facility failed to properly supervise the man. The wrongful death lawsuit is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

Nursing home responsibility

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act outlines the responsibilities that these facilities have when caring for patients. Generally, staff at these institutions must ensure that residents are not harmed, either intentionally or due to negligence, and that their rights are protected. Further, the act states that each staff member should be aware of these responsibilities as well as what the residents’ rights are.

One of the most important tasks is that the facility staff is required to develop a comprehensive care plan for each person. This includes assessing illnesses, medications and mental and physical concerns. In this plan, it should be easily identifiable specific needs the person may have, such as requiring assistance for getting in and out of bed or needing additional supervision.

The facility must also have a formal complaint process that includes information on how someone may file a complaint and how it will be investigated. Under law, Illinois nursing home facilities are required to report any suspected neglect or abuse.

Signs of wrongdoing

There are a number of ways that abuse or neglect can manifest in people living in nursing homes. For example, physical abuse often shows up in the form of bruises, broken bones or scars.

Other types of abuse may not be as easy to spot. When it comes to neglect, loved ones should look for the following:

  • Weight loss, which could be a sign of a lack of food
  • Poor hygiene or dirty clothing
  • A cluttered or dirty room
  • Bedsores

Someone suffering elder abuse may also appear emotionally withdrawn, aggressive or depressed. It is also possible that the person may have strained interactions with staff members or specific staff members.

As soon as someone suspects that a loved one has been harmed, it is imperative to report the incident to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which has a dedicated service for investigating reports of nursing home abuse. People who have concerns about this topic should speak with a personal injury attorney in Illinois.