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Developmentally Disabled Residents Can Now Move Into Community Settings

WJBC News reported this week on a settlement reached in that state that may have far reaching consequences for all those who live in Illinois nursing homes. The suit filed in 2005 argued that the rights of local developmentally disabled residents were violated if they were forced to be segregated into larger institutions.

Previously, these individuals had no option but to live in larger institutions, like nursing homes, without any choice to living in community settings. The executive director of the group responsible for advocating on behalf of the affected individuals explained the benefit of the settlement noting, “what you’re doing is going from a regime that tells you when to go to bed, what you’re going to eat, offers you few choices and options-that’s the nursing home model, it’s a medical model-the group home model is all about living in the community, your own choices, choosing what you want to eat, who you want to live with, and in a much smaller setting.”

This change is a welcome benefit for all involved-the nearly 6,000 developmentally disabled Illinoisans as well as those seniors currently needing nursing home care. Prior to this, many nursing homes began taking these younger residents with different needs in order to maximize their profits. However, most facilities did not add more staff or properly train them to work with these new residents. As a result, care was diluted for all at the facilities.

By opening the door to community settings, older nursing home residents may receive the closer care that they need. In addition, the risk of these senior residents being victimized by younger individuals with mental disabilities will be lessened.

Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti applaud the proper use of the legal system to effectuate fairness and logical solutions which will hopefully improve the care for all involved. All vulnerable community members deserve reasonable standards of care that ensure they are safe while maximizing their individual freedom.

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