If your loved ones’ health or ability has deteriorated to a certain point, it might be unsustainable to continue caring for them yourself. The time, energy, and emotional resources it consumes are enough to drain the most resilient of us. Fortunately, you’re often able to turn to a nursing home where your loved one will receive daily care from trained professionals.
However, many Illinois families place their loved ones in nursing homes only to find that it is nothing like what they expected. The level of care can vary wildly depending on the nursing home. Issues like cleanliness, attentiveness, and general neglect can ultimately necessitate removing them from the nursing home.
In this post, we’ll look into common reasons why you might remove your family member from a nursing home, what you can do if you suspect abuse or neglect, and how to prepare for a move or transfer.
Reasons to Remove a Loved One From a Nursing Home
While there are several reasons to remove family members from a nursing home, here are three of the most common reasons you might consider doing it.
Your Loved One Has Been a Victim of Abuse
We always hope that our loved ones will be taken care of with the respect and dignity they deserve. In most cases, they are. However, the sad truth is that residents of nursing homes are frequently subjected to physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and other forms of abuse.
Some examples of neglect are being left in soiled clothing, not being given adequate food or water, and not being attended to when a resident calls for assistance. Weight loss, unexplained bruises, bedsores, and fractured bones are red flags that might indicate nursing home abuse or neglect.
Moving to a More Suitable Facility
You might want to move your loved one to a more suitable facility, and there could be many reasons for this choice. The culture at a different facility may be a better fit, it might be closer to other specialists they regularly see, or it might offer them more opportunities to be independent.
You also might want to move your family member to a new facility for less pleasant reasons. Sadly, the financial incentives of nursing home operators can often lead to facilities that are overcrowded and chronically understaffed. Additionally, many facilities are ill-equipped to handle patients with special or heightened care needs, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
If you feel that your loved one would be better served in a different setting, acting quickly and making the appropriate arrangements is essential.
The Nursing Home is Closing
Another reason to remove someone from one nursing home to another is that the nursing home is closing. This may be because the facility can no longer support itself financially, hasn’t met regulatory requirements, or is being shut down for safety violations.
If your loved one is a resident in a nursing home that might be closing soon, it’s important to make arrangements for them as soon as possible. Nursing home owners will certainly not allocate sufficient resources to a facility that is about to shut down.
Can A Person Sign Themselves Out Of A Nursing Home?
In most cases people can sign themselves out of a nursing home. That may not be true, however, when the resident has a court-appointed guardian or someone with power of attorney, or is mentally incapacitated.
If a nursing home prevents a capable resident from signing out of a nursing home, a legal cause of action might exist and should be investigated.
Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed To Do
When your loved one is struggling to acclimate to a nursing home, or you suspect possible abuse, it’s important to understand what nursing homes are and are not allowed to do in Illinois.
Transfer Your Loved One Without Their Consent
Under Illinois law, nursing homes must provide to a patient (or guardian) advance notice of any transfer, and they also need to allow the patient to appeal the decision. If a nursing home transfers a patient without following certain procedures, it could be liable for any injuries that occur as a result.
Can A Nursing Home Keep You Against Your Will?
In most cases, no. The primary exception to this rule is if your loved one cannot make their own decisions and is under the care of a guardian.
What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence
Taking prompt action is essential if you think your loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home. Here are a few important steps to take if you suspect nursing home negligence or abuse:
- Talk to your loved one: If they can communicate, see if they have any concerns about their care.
- Set up a camera: If you suspect that your loved one is being abused and you cannot get any information, purchase a small device – like a “nanny cam” – and set it up in their room. These devices are cheap and will allow you to monitor what goes on in a nursing home.
- Talk to the nursing home staff: Discuss your concerns and see if they have any information about your loved one’s treatment. Document these discussions.
- Consult with an attorney: If you suspect negligence or abuse, an attorney can help you investigate the situation and take steps to protect your loved one’s rights.
- Call the police if danger is imminent: They can help ensure your loved one is safe and may assist with any criminal investigations.
Best Practices for Moving Your Loved One From A Nursing Home
When moving or transferring a loved one from a nursing home, keep these things in mind as you start the process.
- Talk to them about the pros and cons of moving: This can help them understand what’s happening, and why the move is an important, safe thing to do.
- Give the facility plenty of notice: Ideally, giving your loved one’s current nursing home a heads up that they’ll be moving will allow them to make appropriate arrangements for your loved one’s care, and simplify the moving process.
- Have all of your paperwork in order: Moving your loved one from a nursing home can be a complex process, often involving intricate legal and medical details. Having papers such as medical records, power of attorney documents, and discharge papers from the nursing home can make this process more manageable.
- Plan for what’s next: Having a plan for your loved one’s care after they leave a nursing home is crucial to providing them with the safety and quality of life they deserve. This might include hiring in-home care, or making arrangements with family members who will care for them.
By following these steps, you can make the transition out of one facility to another as smooth as possible for everyone involved.
Get a Lawyer Who Fights for Resident Rights in Assisted Living Facilities
No matter where they are, or what type of care facility they are living in, your loved ones deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. They also deserve to be kept safe.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes in Illinois put profits before people. As a result, the care they provide is poor and even negligent. If you believe your family member has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, please do not wait; contact a personal injury lawyer you can trust.
Brian Lewis is a personal injury lawyer with decades of experience representing families and individuals who have suffered bed sores, sepsis, medication errors, and abuse at the hands of nursing homes. To learn if you have a case, contact the Lewis Law Firm today for a free case consultation.