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Illinois Legislator Discusses New Nursing Home Law

Illinois State Senator Gary Forby recently wrote an article discussing new Illinois nursing home law. As published in the Carmi Times, the new rules and regulations passed by the Illinois General Assembly were designed to curb the widespread negligence at many nursing homes in Illinois.

Specifically, previous investigations at Illinois care facilities had highlighted the prevalence of physical abuse often caused by inadequate background checks of incoming residents. Many Illinois nursing homes admit convicted felons and residents with dangerous psychiatric disorders. These individuals place other elderly nursing home residents in danger of assault, battery, theft, and other crimes. The prevalence of felons in Illinois nursing homes has most recently been exposed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s surprise nursing home inspections. The Attorney General has conducted a dozen unannounced investigations so far, each time finding several convicted felons hiding among our elderly nursing home residents.

The Illinois governor signed a bill this week seeking to help curb some of these rampant nursing home abuse problems in Illinois. The new bill requires better screening procedures to ensure that new residents are not using the facility to hide from authorities. This includes timely criminal background checks within 24 hours of a possible new resident entering a facility. The screening will also assess whether a resident applicant with certain mental instabilities may be better served at a different location.

In addition the law increases the staffing ratio required at each facility and the number of hours of nursing care that each resident will receive per day. These necessary changes are targeted at limiting the abuses and neglect caused by too few nurses and aides unable to spend the necessary time with each patient to provide the care mandated by law.

On top of that, accountability will be strengthened at the facility, with more state inspectors. These inspectors will help in the daunting process of monitoring the new law to ensure that nursing home comply with the law. All too often, new laws lack effectiveness, because nursing home administrators simply refuse to adequately follow the guidelines and the state does not adequately monitor the homes to ensure that the law is followed.

As we have consistently done in the past, our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti will keep a vigilant eye on all Illinois nursing homes to ensure that this new law is enforced. The care of our elderly residents should never be sacrificed, and the laws must be respected. If you suspect any violations of these new requirement s, please contact our offices.

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