On February 19, the Illinois nursing home task force on safety released their final report with recommendations on how to improve safety and care for nursing home residents. Click on the link to view the report on Illinois nursing homes in its entirety.
The task force report contained 37 recommendations for improving safety and the quality of care for nursing home residents who suffer from mental and physical illness or disabilities. The task force report calls for improvements in the screening and referral system to ensure that people with serious mental illnesses are referred to the most appropriate residential setting for their condition. It also includes recommendations to improve care, including raising minimum staffing levels and increasing nursing home fees and taxes to cover more government oversight. In addition, the report recommends expanding home and community-based programs to give more options to people with mental illness. Along with offering the task force’s recommendations, the 52-page report contains next steps, including relevant nursing home reform legislation and changes to nursing home regulations.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the Governor and task force set a deadline of April 30, 2010 for many of the reforms to be implemented. To prepare for this swift change, state agencies and lawmakers have already begun to draft new regulations and legislation to address the nursing home reform. The Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti hope that the task force’s recommendations will bring real change to nursing homes in Illinois. Currently, many homes house older vulnerable residents alongside younger residents with mental illnesses. Due to insufficient staffing levels and training, nursing home abuse between residents often occurs because nursing home staff cannot provide the proper care and supervision that residents with mental illnesses need. Improving standards of care and increasing living options for younger people with mental illnesses will not only protect older nursing home residents, but will also offer better treatment to those suffering from mental illness.