Anonymously Report a Nursing Home

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Individuals in nursing homes are sadly susceptible to various forms of mistreatment that violate their dignity and their right to compassionate care. If you believe your loved one may be experiencing nursing home abuse or neglect, you have the right to take action to protect them. One option is to report the nursing home to the proper authorities. This can help your loved one and other nursing home residents and hold the responsible parties accountable.

What Is Considered Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home neglect involves the failure to meet the basic needs of elderly residents, leading to harm or distress. This neglect can be physical, emotional, or medical. Examples include:

  • Failing to provide adequate food and hydration, resulting in malnutrition or dehydration
  • Poor hygiene care, which can lead to infections or bedsores
  • Ignoring residents’ calls for assistance, which can result in falls and injuries
  • Isolating residents, ignoring their emotional needs, and depriving them of social interaction
  • Medication errors, such as incorrect dosages or missed medications

These forms of neglect compromise residents’ health, safety, and quality of life, and require vigilant oversight and intervention to prevent additional harm.

What to Do Before Filing a Report

Before you file a report about abuse or neglect in your loved one’s Chicago nursing home, you’ll need to gather as much information as possible. Knowing your reasons and gathering detailed information before reporting can help increase the speed, thoroughness, and effectiveness of the authorities’ investigation. Reflect on your observations and interactions to provide a comprehensive account of the situation. Some questions to ask yourself include:

Has my loved one mentioned or hinted at any mistreatment or neglect?

Direct statements or subtle hints from your loved one can be crucial evidence. These personal accounts provide insight into their experiences and can highlight issues that might not be immediately visible.

Have I noticed any physical signs of abuse, such as bruises, cuts, or bedsores?

Physical signs of abuse or neglect are tangible evidence that something is wrong. Documenting these can help authorities understand the severity of the situation.

Is there evidence of poor hygiene or inadequate medical care?

Observing signs of poor hygiene or lack of proper medical attention indicates neglect. Examples include unchanged bed linens, dirty clothes, unclean living areas, or untreated medical conditions.

Have I heard other residents talking about abuse or neglect within the facility?

Testimonies from other residents can corroborate your concerns. If multiple residents share similar stories, it strengthens the case for investigation.

Have I observed staff members behaving inappropriately or unprofessionally?

Witnessing unprofessional or inappropriate behavior by staff can be a red flag. Examples include staff speaking harshly to residents, ignoring requests for help, or using physical force.

Are there any changes in my loved one’s behavior, such as increased anxiety or withdrawal?

Behavioral changes can indicate emotional or psychological abuse. Noting these changes helps to show the impact of the abuse or neglect on your loved one’s mental health.

Have I documented specific incidents or patterns of neglect or abuse?

Keeping a record of specific incidents or recurring patterns provides concrete evidence. Detailed documentation helps to substantiate your report and makes it easier for authorities to identify and address the issues.

Filing a Complaint with the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

After you have a clear understanding of what’s happening, you should file a complaint with the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. This program exists to safeguard the rights and well-being of residents in long-term care facilities and can be a strong ally in addressing your concerns. They investigate complaints, mediate disputes, and work to get residents the care they need. Importantly, they protect your anonymity throughout this process, allowing you to speak up without fearing retaliation against your loved one. The Ombudsman will attempt to work with the nursing home to address the issues you’ve raised.

You can contact the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program by using their directory to find your local Ombudsman or by calling the 24-Hour Adult Protective Services Hotline toll-free at (866) 800-1409.

The Illinois Senior Helpline is another valuable resource for support. This helpline offers information and assistance on senior services, including guidance on addressing nursing home issues. You can contact the Illinois Senior Helpline at 1-800-252-8966 or via email at

Filing a Complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

If the Ombudsman program can’t find a solution with the nursing home, the next step is to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). IDPH has the authority to take corrective actions against facilities. You can submit a report to IDPH in several ways:

  • By Phone – Call 1-800-252-4343. Phones operate Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • By Mail – Mail your complaint to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Office of Health Care Regulation, Central Complaint Registry at 525 W. Jefferson St., Ground Floor, Springfield, IL 62761-0001.
  • By Email – Email the completed IDPH complaint form to

When preparing to file a complaint, be ready to provide detailed information about your concerns. You should prepare to answer the following questions:

  • Who is the patient or resident?
  • Who are the employees involved?
  • What happened to the patient or resident? What are the specific allegations?
  • When did this incident occur?
  • Where is the facility located? Where did the incident occur in the facility?
  • How was the patient harmed or put at risk?
  • How did the facility address your complaint?

Why You Need Attorneys for Nursing Home Neglect Cases

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Involving an attorney in your case can make a significant difference for your loved one. A lawyer will gather evidence of neglect or abuse, such as medical records and witness statements, as well as file complaints and legal documents on your behalf. They can represent you in all phases of your case and fight to hold the nursing home accountable.

If the facility attempts to retaliate against your loved one, an attorney can take immediate legal action to protect their rights. Having an attorney on your side can help your loved one receive the justice they deserve and gives you peace of mind knowing someone is dedicated to their well-being.

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today

If you suspect your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse or neglect, taking legal action can protect your loved one and others. For over 50 years, Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC has handled nursing home neglect and abuse cases in the Chicago area. For compassionate legal support, contact us online or by calling 312-346-8620 today for a free consultation.

Written by Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC Last Updated : June 13, 2024