Top officials from seven state agencies met for nearly two hours to discuss safety breakdowns at nursing homes that accept high numbers of mentally ill criminals. They have laid out a blueprint for solving what they have described as a very serious problem in terms of nursing home abuse. The task force met in response to the Chicago Tribune’s series that detailed instances when elderly and disabled nursing home residents were allegedly assaulted, raped and even murdered by mentally ill criminals who lived in the facilities. The task force will meet at least a half dozen times over the next several months to discuss combating nursing home abuse. They are set to complete a report by January 31 with recommendations to the governor on how to better the situation. The task force is set to conduct unannounced site visits to various nursing facilities to seek public input about the best ways to assure safety for residents. Task force members are calling on better training for public health inspectors. They also suggested a thorough review of the criminal background screenings of the roughly 3,000 mentally ill offenders now living in the nursing homes. Illinois should consider licensing separate facilities for mentally ill residents with criminal backgrounds or violent histories to resolve problems created by the volatile mix of elderly and psychiatric patients. To read more about the Illinois task force, please click the link.