Caregivers and loved ones seeking improved nursing home quality of care now urge the Illinois House of Representatives to pass important measure
Illinois nursing home residents subjected to neglect, infection, unauthorized administration of psychotropic drugs and other horrifying consequences – even death — due to inadequate nursing home staffing are one step closer to being protected after the Illinois State Senate passed a bill aimed at improving the quality of nursing home care Wednesday.
Senate Bill 1510 passed by a 39 to 19 vote of the Illinois Senate.
“I am heartened that the Illinois Senate today agreed that no one should suffer unnecessarily in a place where they are supposed to be cared for,” said State Sen. Jacqueline Collins, (D-Chicago), sponsor of the Nursing Home Residents’ Quality of Care Initiative Act.
“We must now encourage our colleagues in the House to do their part to pass this initiative and its much-needed measures to protect some of our state’s must vulnerable residents.”
In 2015, 39% of nursing homes in Illinois received a low quality rating from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Over eight in ten (84%) voters in Illinois say that action should be taken in 2019 to increase the quality of care in Illinois nursing homes, according to an AARP survey.
Illinois nursing homes rank 50th in the nation for direct care nursing hours per resident per day and are 2nd worst in the nation for long-stay residents receiving inappropriate use of antipsychotic medication.
“The contributions of our friends and loved ones in Illinois nursing homes and our society are immeasurable, but without safeguards in place, they have been left in sedation or unspeakable pain from bedsores and infection, said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director.
“We commend Sen. Collins for her leadership in protecting those unable to stand up for themselves and are committed to working with her and the House sponsor, State Rep. Anna Moeller, in the months to come to advocate for the health, safety, and basic human dignity of Illinois’ nursing home residents.”
SB1510 was prompted after a Chicago Tribune/Kaiser Health News investigation, which documented the urgent need for nursing home resident protection due to understaffing.
The initiative requires Illinois nursing homes to uphold the state’s minimum staffing law, heightens the Illinois Department of Public Health’s transparency of nursing home violations, and ensures nursing home residents have the right to voluntary, informed consent before taking psychotropic medications.
AARP Illinois, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving lives for those 50+ and their families, also applauded the bill’s passage, which will help to address troubling stories of inadequate nursing home care reported by too many of its 1.7 million members.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities.
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