A new law will protect residents of Illinois nursing homes from experiencing unnecessary isolation. Governor JB Pritzker signed into law a nursing home virtual visitation law that provides Illinois nursing home residents with the opportunity to connect virtually with family, loved ones, friends and religious members and events. During the Covid pandemic quarantine, many nursing home residents became isolated and experienced severe consequences and loneliness.
Bipartisan Senate Bill 2137, sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader, Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16) and Rep. Anna Moeller (D-43), provides that:
• Virtual visitation will 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 equipment and the development of a resident’s individualized visitation schedule will be included in a facility’s virtual visitation policy.
• Facilities will be permitted to train volunteers and staff to assist residents in virtual visitation.
• A resident’s right or use of personal devices will not change.
• Penalties for nursing homes not in compliance will go into effect in 2023; one year after the stated distribution of CMP funds in Illinois.
• Illinois Department of Public Health will adopt social isolation prevention policies within 60 days after the effective date of the Act; rules will take into account a facility’s barriers to connectivity and internet bandwidth limitations.
2020 research shows that the consequences of isolation and loneliness on a nursing home resident’s quality of life are alarming:
• 50% increased risk of developing dementia
• 32% increased risk of stroke
• 25% increased risk of death among heart failure patients
Do you have questions about nursing home negligence or elder law in Illinois? Our experienced elder law attorneys in Lombard Illinois understand applicable laws and advise you on the best options to protect an elderly or disabled person. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.
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