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State officials scrambling to react to reports of dangerous felons preying on Illinois nursing home residents

State lawmakers will hold hearings next month on ways to improve safety in Illinois nursing homes after outrage over the high number of felons with mental illness has led to violent crimes, including murder, rape and assault, against innocent residents.

The Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers and Chicago nursing home attorneys at Abels & Annes continue to monitor this issue closely — the well being of vulnerable seniors is clearly at stake as dangerous felons and the mentally ill continue to be housed in nursing facilities.

The Senate committee hearings Nov. 5 will include testimony from elder advocates, as well as state agencies in charge of nursing home safety, including the departments of human services, family services, health care, aging and public health.

The Chicago Tribune reported the hearings are in response to the newspaper’s three-part series detailing the mixing of mentally ill felons with nursing home residents, incomplete background checks, low staffing levels and a breakdown in reporting serious crimes against residents.

You can read more about that series on our Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog.

“At the end of the day, we need substantive results, and we need to protect our families,” said Sen. William Delgado, D-Chicago, told the Tribune.

Gov. Pat Quinn has also convened the Nursing Home Safety Task Force, which held the first of six meetings last week. And Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has called on public health officials to increase inspections, improve data-keeping of alleged crimes and review the criminal histories of all 3,000 felons living in nursing homes.

“I want to ask the Public Health Department what (its) plan is to improve enforcement in nursing homes, whether we need legislation or more staff,” she said.Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago. Steans said she has a special interest in the issue because her North Side district has among the highest concentrations of mentally ill nursing-home residents in the state, and some of the homes generate a large volume of police service calls.

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