The Daily Herald recently reported on a class action settlement that may affect the lives of thousands of patients in nursing homes and other facilities for the mentally ill.
A civil rights lawsuit had previously been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging Illinois’ segregation of mentally ill patients. As it stood before the settlement, the state had two types of long-term care facilities: regular nursing homes and specialized homes known as institutions for mental disease. There are 25 of those facilities in Illinois, which are run for profit using federal government aid to care for the mentally ill patients.
A settlement was recently reached that will give the mentally ill patients additional living options. Specifically, those patients will now have the right to move to apartments or small homes. A court-appointed monitor will facilitate the five year transition.
Some disagreement existed over the settlement and its possible ramifications. No resident will be forced to leave the facility in which they currently live. However, the change may ultimately force many of these specialized nursing homes to close because they would not have enough patients to sustain the for-profit costs. This fact caused concern to many family members who feared that their loved ones would not be able to live healthily outside of the institutions. However, ACLU experts claimed that many residents would be able to live successfully with state support services like cooking, shopping, and medication management. Ultimately the judge approved the settlement notwithstanding the objections.
Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti support all changes that ensure that these vulnerable Illinois residents are given the care that they deserve. Also, we strongly believe that all applicable nursing home laws and constitutional guarantees should be honored at all times.