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One of the most unsettling things about nursing homes is the potential for negligence. By placing a loved one in a facility, you are entrusting strangers with their care. As much as you might research the home, there are no guarantees.

There are things you can do to look out for your family member. Frequent visits, especially at random times, are an important one. Also, know who their doctors are, ask questions about treatment plans and daily routines and know what medications they are taking and why. Asking questions sooner rather than later is always a good idea, as well. The bottom line, however, is that Illinois nursing homes have a legal duty to protect residents. If they breach that duty by acting negligently, or worse by committing some form of abuse against a resident, they can be sued and held responsible.

Common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include a sudden and unexplained change in the resident’s health or mood. Anger, fear, depression and sadness can indicate that something has happened. Physically, bed sores are a huge red flag that your loved one isn’t being cared for as well as they should. Bed sores develop when someone is in one position for too long, such as sitting in bed for too many hours at a time. Bed sores can worsen quickly, and can even be life threatening.

Medication errors, both over medicating and under medicating, have been a problem in Illinois as well. Nursing home patients are likely to be on multiple medications at any given time. There have been cases of severe overdose, as well as cases where patients were not given a medication as prescribed, resulting in a worsened condition and eventual death. It’s never a bad idea to get the advice of an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney if you have questions about your particular situation.

An Illinois nursing home case can be based on a severe injury or death that was caused by the negligence of the nursing home management or its staff. Cases also can be based on intentional abuse. Keep in mind that in any type of injury lawsuit, you’ll need to focus on what did happen rather than what could have happened. You generally can’t base a lawsuit on a close call, even if it was life threatening. With a close call, the best you can probably do is report the incident and find a safer place for your loved one.