Illinois Nursing Home Safety Act Ramps Up Protection for Elderly

As we enter the short, cold days of winter, we remember the advice our parents gave us as we’d leave the house to brave the cold: bundle up, put on a hat, and zip up your jacket. As we ourselves grow older and become parents, it is important we ensure that our own parents and grandparents receive the best possible care. And while nursing home facilities are created to help facilitate this care, the reality is that not all nursing homes are doing so.

This is why in July 2010, Illinois enacted increased regulations to its Illinois Nursing Home Safety Act (SB3226) (Public Act 96-1372). While Illinois’s Nursing Home Care Act was first signed into law in 1979, the 2010 amendments were aimed at increasing the quality of care and regulations for nursing home facilities.

The changes came after a series of articles in The Chicago Tribune highlighted the gross nursing home abuses going on in Illinois’ nursing home facilities. Because of overcrowding and understaffing problems, many Illinois nursing home residents were housed with potentially dangerous residents. Many nursing homes were accepting residents with criminal records or mental health diagnoses and housing them alongside geriatric residents without providing adequate security measures. As a result, an increased number of nursing home residents were getting abused, not by the staff, but by fellow nursing home residents.

In response to these new threats, the Illinois Nursing Home Safety Act enacted new restrictions in order to minimize the potential danger posed by mentally ill residents or those with criminal backgrounds. Among these provisions are new requirements for staff-to-patient ratios, increased certification requirements, and other provisions that increase the transparency of nursing home policies and practices.

However, perhaps most significant was the Act’s new requirements for admission screening procedures. Before a resident can be admitted to a facility the nursing home staff must perform a prescreening test and request the new resident’s background check. The idea is that the increased screening process will help in eliminating potentially dangerous residents from interacting with the nursing home facilities other residents.

While many of the Act’s provisions took immediate effect in 2010, other provisions are still in the pipeline. For example, in 2012, the Act will reduce the number of beds that can be assigned to a single state surveyor to 400. In 2013, the number of beds will further be reduced to 300 beds for every state surveyor. Presumably by reducing the number of beds any one surveyor can oversea will help increase the state’s ability to track and monitor its nursing home facilities.

And while the new provisions to the Act have certainly increased the quality of care at Illinois’s nursing homes, nursing home abuse is still happening. Whether through poor quality of care, under-qualified staff, or inadequate medical conditions, nursing home residents are still at risk for nursing home malpractice.

If you suspect a family member has suffered neglect or abuse by a caregiver at a nursing home facility, long-term residency, hospital or other group home, call Kreisman Law Offices. We have over 35 years of experience in handling Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Contact our Chicago office at 312-346-0045 or 800-583-8002 or by email at for an immediate free consultation, or fill out our contact form.

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