Nursing Home Resident’s Virtual Visitation Bill Passes Illinois Senate with Bipartisan Support

Posted on 04/29/21

Contact: Monika Wnuk, Associate State Director

E-mail: mwnuk@aarp.org Cell: 312-402-5257 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 28, 2021

Nursing Home Resident’s Virtual Visitation Bill Passes Illinois Senate with Bipartisan Support

Springfield – The Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 2137, the Nursing Home Resident’s Virtual Visitation bill, which will hold facilities accountable to offering and facilitating virtual visitation in all nursing homes in Illinois, with bipartisan support on a vote of 53-0-0.

“Nursing home residents, who have faced the immeasurable effects of social isolation during this pandemic, deserve the advocacy and leadership we saw today with the passage of SB 2137,” said Bob Gallo, State Director of AARP Illinois. “This bi-partisan measure is a critical and encouraging step toward holding nursing homes accountable for ensuring the physical and emotional health of the residents in their care.”

The proposed bill comes in the wake of 2020 research that shows that the harsh consequences of isolation and loneliness on a resident’s quality of life are alarming: 50 % increased risk of developing dementia, a 32% increased risk of stroke, and a nearly fourfold increased risk of death among heart failure patients.

Under the Nursing Home Resident’s Virtual Visitation bill (SB 2137):

  • Facilities would adopt and implement policies to combat social isolation of residents.
  • Virtual visitation would be considered in addition to existing in-person visitation policies.
  • Technology and assistive equipment may be funded through federal Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) Funds and/or other state and federal resources.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and the development of a resident's individualized visitation schedule would be included in a facility’s virtual visitation policy.
  •  Facilities would be permitted to train volunteers and staff to assist residents in virtual visitation.
  • A resident’s right or use of personal devices would not change.
  • Penalties for nursing homes not in compliance would go into effect in 2023; one year after the stated distribution of CMP funds in Illinois.
  • IL Department of Public Health shall adopt social isolation prevention policies within 60 days after effective date of the Act; rules will take into account a facility’s barriers to connectivity and Internet bandwidth limitations.

AARP Illinois commends the leadership of Senate Chief Sponsor Jacqueline Y. Collins along with the 33 bi-partisan co-sponsors:



Senator Donald P. DeWitte



Senator Laura Fine



Senator Julie A. Morrison



Senator Adriane Johnson



Senator Omar Aquino



Senator Doris Turner



Senator Cristina Castro



Senator Celina Villanueva



Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas



Senator Christopher Belt



Senator Anna Gillespie



Senator Ram Villivalam



Senator Meg Loughran Cappel



Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton



Senator Linda Holmes



Senator John Connor



Senator Mattie Hunter

Senator Robert Peters



Senator Karina Villa



Senator Laura M. Murphy



Senator Laura Ellman



Senator Mike Summons



Senator Melinda Bush



Senator Thomas Cullerton



Senator Steve Stadelman



Senator Sara Feigenholtz



Senator Emil Jones III



Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr.



Senator Patricia Van Pelt



Senator Napoleon Harris III



Senator Antonio Muñoz



Senator Rachelle Crowe



Senator Jil Tracy

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This story is provided by AARP Illinois. Visit the AARP Illinois page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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