Nursing Home Negligent For Resident's Fall Resulting in Fractured Hip

This action was brought by the personal administrator of a former resident's estate against a nursing home under the Nursing Home Care Act.  On the day the resident was admitted for respite care to the nursing home he fell in his room, fracturing his hip. The resident was to receive respite care during the personal administrator’s vacation.


The evidence showed that the resident suffered dementia, the resident's treating physician reported that the resident was elderly and frail and that the move to the nursing home could reasonably be anticipated to exacerbate confusion in a person suffering dementia, a nursing home employee who conducted a home visit in anticipation of the resident's stay evaluated the resident as needing a certain level of care, there was evidence that the employee's evaluation was never communicated to the personnel administering care to the resident, and there was evidence that the resident's nursing admission checklist was missing, that there gaps in the supervision of the resident, and that the resident's call button did not work.


Jury instructions on “neglect” and the standard of care were at issue. The Appeals Court held the instruction on neglect that defined the term “neglect,” and instructions regarding administrative regulations promulgated pursuant to the Nursing Home Care Act as a whole accurately informed the jury of the standard of care. The jury was not allowed to choose between several standards of care, the jury was properly informed that the statutory definition of neglect was to be considered with other relevant facts in determining whether the nursing home was negligent, and the regulations were promulgated to protect against the type of injury alleged by the personal representative of the former resident's estate. The administrative regulation provided that a facility “shall not neglect a resident.” The court properly instructed that “[i]f you decide that a party violated the administrative regulation on the occasion in question, then you may consider that fact together with all the other facts to what extent, if any, a party was negligent before and at the time of the occurrence.”


The Appeals Court held the evidence was sufficient to establish that the nursing home was negligent in regards to the former resident's fall.


See: Graves v. Rosewood Care Center, Inc., 2012 IL App (5th) 100,033 (Ill.App. 5 Dist. Apr 02, 2012), as corrected (Apr 11, 2012), appeal denied (Ill. May 30, 2012) (not designated for publication).