Across the state, elderly residents of nursing homes have been subjected to neglect and horrifying abuse, Illinois lawmakers announced last week.
The situation has prompted the introduction of a bill to improve the quality of care for nursing home residents.
“It has been both heartbreaking and motivating to me, through my work, to see how devastating it can be for an entire family when a loved one receives inadequate care in a nursing home,” said Illinois State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), who introduced the bill.
The bill, the Nursing Home Residents’ Quality Care Initiative (SB 1510, SA #1), calls on lawmakers to enforce the state’s minimum staffing requirements at nursing homes, enhance a resident’s right to informed consent regarding psychotropic medication, and increase public transparency of nursing home violations.
The measure is Illinois’s latest response to complaints about the care residents of nursing homes receive. In 2015, in an attempt to protect nursing home residents, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill allowing such residents to install electronic surveillance systems in their rooms.
At the time, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported receiving 19,000 alleging abuse or neglect in nursing care facilities each year. The lawmakers sponsoring the bill say the situation hasn’t gotten better.
The problem isn’t limited to Illinois. While the state has had its share of publicized issues involving nursing homes, this appears to be a national problem. Just last week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing to discuss reports of neglect and abuse in nursing homes nationwide and what can be done to protect those at risk.
The hearing called attention to the issue and may help with the passing of legislature at a federal level that protects the rights of nursing home residents and improves the quality of their care.
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