Nursing home negligence is a serious issue in Illinois, and across the country. Many of us trust the owners, administrators and caretakers of nursing homes to take good care of our aging parents or grandparents. Our loved ones may have daily care and medical needs that require the kind of attention only trained nursing staff can provide. However, when their needs or medical care requirements are ignored, serious injury or even death can be the result, often without family knowing the real cause of the injury.
In an effort to address some of the complaints and concerns surrounding nursing home negligence in Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has announced a new law that went into effect on January 1st, 2016. Under this change, electronic monitoring devices can now be installed in a patient's nursing home room.
Sponsored by Democrat Representatives, Greg Harris of Chicago, and Terry Link representing Waukegan, House Bill 2462 will make Illinois the fourth state to allow audio and video monitoring devices to be installed in nursing home resident rooms. The call for such changes came from family members who were worried about how their elderly loved ones were being treated while under the care of nursing home staff.
According to Madigan, “Placing a loved on in a nursing facility is a difficult decision that many families will face. This measure provides an extra layer of security for nursing home residents, while giving their families peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are receiving safe, quality care.”
Electronic monitoring devices could work both ways, and help resolve cases of disputed nursing home negligence. Video or audio evidence could be used to absolve nursing staff of neglect charges from family members who suspect abuse.
“I would like to thank Attorney General Lisa Madigan for her leadership on this important issue for Illinois families,” said Representative Harris. “When families place an aging loved one into a nursing facility, it is important that they have access to a commonly accepted and widely used technology to ensure safety, and assure families that their relatives are receiving attentive and caring service.”
The law was passed with majority support, and specifics include required resident consent, the devices must be visible, residents or family will be responsible for the costs to purchase and install devices, and there are penalties for tampering with, or destroying the monitoring devices.
The new law comes at a time when there have been a number of complaints about Illinois nursing home conditions. A nursing home safety advocacy group, Families for Better Care, gave Illinois nursing homes an average score of F in their 2014 Nursing Home Report Card, coming in at number 44 of all states and the District of Columbia. The group's executive director indicated“inadequate staffing levels continue to fuel widespread neglect and abuse.”
If you were suspect a family member in a nursing home is being subjected to abuse or has been injured due to nursing home negligence, you should speak with an experienced attorney who understands Illinois nursing home negligence law. At Benassi & Benassi, we are committed to getting our clients and their families the justice they deserve.