Two Senate committees will hold a joint hearing next month to examine ways to improve safety at Illinois nursing homes. These homes have a high number of felons with mental illness which has led to reported assaults, rape and even murder. There will be a hearing in Chicago where elder advocates will speak. There will also be the heads of major state agencies in charge of nursing home safety, including the departments of public health, aging, and health care and family services. This hearing is in response to a Chicago Tribune series that exposed the dangerous mix of elderly residents and mentally ill felons. The series found incomplete background checks of younger criminals placed in the homes because of he psychiatric disorders, low staffing levels at many of the facilities that admit them. The hearing will be independent of Governor Quinn’s recently convened Nursing Home Safety Task Force. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has also called on public health officials to beef up inspections, improve data-keeping of alleged crimes and review the criminal histories of all 3,000 felons living in nursing homes. Hopefully these hearings will help reduce nursing home abuse. To read more about the nursing home hearings, please click the link.