Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed comprehensive long-term care rebalancing legislation that will protect senior citizens from neglect and abuse by family members, caregivers and nursing homes. As many elders are unable to speak out when they have suffered from nursing home neglect or abuse, these laws are critical to protect them and provide them with more dignity in their last stages of life. Several of these new laws are immediately effective, with the remaining legislation effective Jan. 1, 2013.
The Health Care Council of Illinois was successful in mandating state budget allocations for the new definitions of types of care required by senior citizens and another bill that strengthens provisions for fining facilities that violate elder care laws. The AARP Illinois initiated a bill that freezes the assets of anyone charged with exploiting an elder's finances and another bill that clarifies the powers of attorney in financial contracts. The Illinois State Bar Council and the Department of Health and Human Services initiated legislation that now allows estate executors with power of attorney to access a deceased elder's medical records.
Yet another bill authorizes the release of elder abuse, neglect and fraud reports to fire and police departments, so when they are responding to emergencies or performing wellness checks they will have this information readily available. An additional bill will allow transfer of these records over the Internet.
Safety regulations include required training courses for probation officers to help identify crimes against seniors, mandated identification bracelets for nursing home patients and additional protocols for the lifting of elderly patients. These laws all provide far-reaching support for Illinois senior citizens at a time in their lives when they need it most.
Source: Aledo Times Record, "Elder abuse tackled in Illinois," Aug. 3, 2012