Illinois governor proposes aggressive changes to nursing home admissions, care

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In response to articles published by the Chicago Tribune exposing problems in Illinois nursing homes, Gov. Pat Quinn (D) Thursday proposed sweeping changes to the system.

Among the changes proposed by the Quinn administration are more thorough criminal background checks for residents, along with sanctions against homes that do not perform such checks. It also calls for police searches for nursing home residents with outstanding warrants, and new compliance and training standards for facilities that serve people with severe psychiatric disorders. Illinois is perhaps the only state to routinely house mentally ill patients alongside frail seniors in its nursing homes, according to local news reports. The proposals also give the state greater authority to punish nursing homes that violate the new standards.

The Tribune articles chronicled a rapid increase in resident-on-resident violence in Illinois' nursing homes. The Tribune found that the state wantonly dumped its mentally ill and felonious elderly into nursing homes.