Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed a new bill that aims to protect nursing home residents throughout the state. House Bill 2462, sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Sen. Terry …
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed a new bill that aims to protect nursing home residents throughout the state. House Bill 2462, sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), was met with what The Telegraph calls “overwhelming support” in the state’s General Assembly.
This bill will allow family members of nursing home residents to install audio and/or video monitoring devices in residents’ rooms. The bill came to the state’s Assembly after multiple accusations of neglect and abuse in nursing homes, according to Consumer Affairs.
The bill was drafted by Illinois Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan, according to the Chicago Tribune. Madigan lobbied heavily for the bill’s passage, explaining that the
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) typically receives around 19,000 complaints per year regarding alleged abuse or neglect in nursing homes.
With over 860 individual nursing home facilities throughout the state and over 76,000 residents living in these homes, the state has been hard-pressed to provide enough caregivers for each patient. For just one elderly patient suffering from a severe case of Alzheimer’s Disease, anywhere between one and four caregivers are necessary to provide adequate attention.
With a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s, elderly residents often have a hard time remembering that a staff member failed to provide adequate care. Lacking both concrete evidence and a first-person account of the alleged abuse/neglect, family members of nursing home residents have trouble proving what’s happening.
Of the 19,000 registered complaints in Illinois, the IDPN investigates roughly 5,000 complaints each year. In 2013, only 106 accusations of elder abuse or neglect in nursing homes were found to be valid.
The bill requires that nursing homes must display signs at main entrances warning that residents’ rooms may be electronically monitored, and each individual room monitored must also have a sign outside the doorway indicating that electronic monitoring devices are inside.
Residents must provide consent to have the monitoring devices installed in their personal room, although legal guardians and family members may provide consent for residents who are unable to do so. Residents are not required to have a monitoring device installed in their personal rooms, and if a resident or the family of a resident choose to have a device installed, they must pay for the costs out-of-pocket.
“This law makes Illinois one of the first states in the nation to give families peace of mind by allowing them to monitor their loved one’s care when they cannot be present,” said Madigan in an official statement.