The AP reports that yesterday, Governor Pat Quinn signed an Illinois nursing home reform bill into law. The new legislation will serve to protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect while improving the quality of care in Illinois nursing homes. Our Chicago nursing home attorneys have been actively involved in the fight for better care and are pleased to see new measures in place.
The bill is the result of months of hard work by lawmakers, nursing home advocates, family members and community organizations that all saw a need for reform in our nursing homes. The Chicago Reporter first called attention to the inadequate care and racial disparities in Chicago nursing homes last July. The Chicago Tribune later ran a series of “Compromised Care” reports that drew widespread attention to the issues surrounding nursing home residents in Illinois. Both of these publications did an excellent job of raising public awareness surrounding poor care in our nursing homes and their reports forced lawmakers to examine the problems in Illinois nursing homes.
In October, the governor convened a Nursing Home Task Force to study the issues, including the practice of housing young residents suffering from mental illnesses alongside older, vulnerable residents. Several months later, bills in both the House and Senate were introduced to address the problems identified by the Task Force. This work resulted in bill that was signed yesterday by the Governor.
The legislation will take a number of steps to improve care in nursing homes throughout Chicago and across the state. One of the most important measures is increased staffing ratios. This will help to ensure that nursing homes are better staffed. When nursing homes have proper staffing, workers can give better care and attention to individual residents, leading to fewer instances of abuse and neglect. The new law will also require the Illinois Department of Public Health to employ more nursing home inspectors who will go into the field to inspect nursing homes to make certain that they comply with the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.
Our attorneys commend advocates and lawmakers for their work to bring positive changes to Illinois nursing homes. We hope that the measures brought about by this legislation will bring better quality care to residents and reduce the incidence of nursing homes abuse and neglect throughout the state.