Elder abuse in Illinois is a real problem that happens with more frequency than many people think. At The Law Offices of David H. Brinton, LLC, one of the most commonly asked questions we hear is, “How do I file a complaint against a nursing home in Illinois?” Read on to find your answer. For more information, contact our team at The Law Offices of David H. Brinton, LLC for a free, no-obligation consultation

Statistics on Elder Abuse in Illinois

Out of the 20,800 reports of abuse on the vulnerable that the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) received from July 1, 2019, through to June 30, 2020, 82% were forms of elder abuse. Elder abuse is when a person aged 60 years of age and older is exploited, harmed, or taken advantage of.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that one out of three elderly people will be abused in some way while they reside in a nursing home. A minimum of 85% of assisted living facilities reported that their location had at least one if not more instances of abuse in 2012. Considering not all abuse is always recognized and reported, the cases of abuse and neglect that exist are likely far higher than those that are reported every year.

When 66% of staff members in nursing homes admitted that they were involved in some form of elder abuse in 2020 alone according to a study done by the World Health Organization (WHO), this shows the extent of nursing home abuse and how serious and widespread it is.

Who Can Report Elder Abuse in Illinois?

It is critical that elder abuse incidents are reported and that those individuals that are taking advantage of the elderly are held accountable for their actions. There are many instances where elderly people may not be able to speak for themselves and protect themselves from abuse. As a result, they may suffer recurrent and regular mistreatment.

Anyone can make a report of elder abuse in Illinois. The patients, their family members, caregivers, advocacy groups, and staff and residents in medical facilities or nursing homes can all report elder abuse. When doing so, the Illinois Department of Public Health does everything that it can to protect the identity of the complainant–meaning that these people can file anonymously.

What Happens When Elder Abuse Is Reported in Illinois?

After a complaint is filed, it is logged into the system and a review takes place. Investigations into a report vary widely depending on how severe or dire the situation is. For example, if there is the belief that abuse may occur but nothing has happened yet versus when there is active and egregious ongoing abuse taking place, the second scenario is likely going to be the Department’s priority. That does not mean that suspected abuse potentially happening in the future is not taken seriously because it is. These instances will also be looked into.

When the Department scores which cases should have resources prioritized first, there are several factors to consider. Some of these include the nature of the abuse and how extensive it is. The most pressing incidents can take days before an investigation is launched. Those cases that are not deemed to be a rapid emergency need may have an investigation take place months from the time that the report was made.

How to File An Elder Abuse Complaint In Illinois

You can file a complaint by calling, e-mailing, traditional mail, or fax. Use the following contact information to get started:

  • Central Complaint Registry Hotline: 800-252-4343 or 800-547-0466 (TTY)
  • Illinois Department of Public Health, mail a Healthcare Facilities Complaint Form to the Office of Health Care Regulation at 525 W. Jefferson St., Ground Floor; Springfield, IL 62761-001
  • FAX Healthcare Facilities Complaint Form to 217-524-8885
  • Email: CCR@illinois.gov

Other Helpful Resources

Additionally, other agencies in the state have applicable resources to support and guide you.

  • Insurance billing problems go to the Illinois Department of Insurance: at 877-527-9431 or 866-445-5364. You can file insurance complaints
  • Possible health care fraud goes to the Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud Unit at 877-305-5145 or 800-964-3013 (TTY); FAX: 312-793-0802. You can also file health care fraud complaints online.
  • Licensed personnel issues go to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation at 312-814-6910. You can also file licensed personnel complaints
  • Mental health issues occurring and DHS-operated facilities go to the Illinois Department of Human Services at 1-800-368-1463 or 312-815-3784.
  • Medicare Billing Problems go to a Medicare Customer Services Representative at 800-633-4227 or to the Department of Insurance at 800-548-9034.

Helpful Tips

  • If you filed a long-term care complaint and want to learn more about the status of your report you can call 800-252-4343 and speak to a representative at the IDPH Bureau of Long-Term Care.
  • For those that do not have a long-term care complaint, you can call 217-782-7412 to speak with a representative at the IDPH Division of Health Care Facilities and Programs.
  • Always have your complaint number available when you call for a status check. Otherwise, you should have the name of the facility you are reporting and where it is located.

Speak to an Illinois Elder Abuse Attorney Today

We hope you found this guide on how to file a complaint against a nursing home in Illinois helpful. Remember, reporting elder abuse is an important first step to safeguarding a victim from further harm and potentially stopping the continuance of harm to other elderly people living in nursing home facilities.

To learn more about your legal options, contact us at The Law Offices of David H. Brinton to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.