TampaBay.com published a story this morning on a high profile federal nursing home lawsuit that questions state practices overemphasizing the use of nursing homes for injured and debilitated citizens.
Specifically, advocacy groups, including the AARP, filed suit alleging a state Medicaid program was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. They claim that state practices force certain injured people into nursing homes instead of providing services at the individual’s home. The federal act mandates that states integrate people into their communities-a duty that advocates claim is being ignored by the state.
Blog readers will recall that a settlement was reached in our state following a similar Illinois nursing home lawsuit. Disability rights activists had sought changes in the way certain disabled nursing home members were treated, and the group filed a class action lawsuit against the state in 2005 claiming that the state care of these individuals was lacking. The basis of the charge was the then inability of residents to live in an integrated living environment. The claim was rooted in the American with Disabilities Act and its rejection of undue segregation.
If approved by a judge, the agreement decree will allow much greater flexibility of living conditions for developmentally disabled residents. According to the agreement, all 6,000 residents of these special facilities are able to move out of the nursing home and into a small group home.
The agreement remains flexible in that only those individuals who chose to leave the larger facilities are able-instead of forcing all in the group to move to smaller group homes.
Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti understand the importance of remaining flexible about the care required by different residents at our nursing homes. Allowing more options for certain resident who chose it will only have a beneficial impact on their health and well-being. It is vital that nursing homes take into account the overall quality of life of many of their residents, beyond the mere basics of care. All nursing home residents are community members who deserve the same chance at happiness as everyone else.
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