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: Cell: 312-402-5257 


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


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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