Illinois Nursing Home Resists Moving Psychiatric Patients

A recent article by The Chicago Tribune highlighted some controversy surrounding an Illinois court settlement concerning psychiatric patients in Illinois. The settlement involves moving psychiatric patients from their current residences in Illinois nursing homes and into supported living communities. However, reports of Illinois nursing homes misleading their residents about the state’s plan has led to accusations that the nursing homes are trying to frighten their psychiatric patients into staying put.

Health-care-bill%202.jpgThe plan affects roughly two dozen nursing homes that are specifically designated as Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) and the 4,500 psychiatric patients who reside there. The plan proposes to offer a screening to any psychiatric patients who wish to leave; those patients who pass the screening are eligible for relocation to subsidized living communities. These communities would have staff available to provide therapy, life-skill training, job training, and substance abuse programs.


State officials advised that these screenings and evaluations were only for those interested in moving and will not be mandatory. However, some nursing homes, such as Abbott House in Highland Park, Illinois, have been found to be distributing pamphlets to its residents and their families warning them about the dangers of the settlement. These “information sheets” warn that the details of the settlement were not specified by the court and imply that residents who move might not be fed or receive their necessary medical treatments.

The nursing homes assert that the lack of details concerning how the state will pay for and implement this plan is a cause for concern and that these information sheets were addressing those concerns. However, the American Civil Liberties Union does not agree with the nursing homes’ explanation and has filed court papers alleging that the nursing homes are employing scare tactics in order to keep the psychiatric patients from leaving their facilities.

The consent decree concerning the psychiatric patient plan is not set to be heard until September 7. And if it is approved the state will have an additional nine months to establish an implementation plan. This issue is long from being decided and admittedly there remains a lot of details to be worked out. However, these details should all be set in place by the time the plan is set to take effect.

Even if the nursing home pamphlets were addressing valid concerns regarding the lack of current information about the implementation of the proposed plan, their distribution was premature. A judge is set to rule on whether the nursing homes can continue to distribute the information sheets to its residents and their families.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois nursing home abuse lawsuits for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Elk Grove Village, Oak Park, Burr Ridge, and Cicero.

Sources:

David Jackson and Gary Marx. “Nursing Home Launch ‘Desperate Attempt’ to Keep Psychiatric Patients, ACLU Says.” The Chicago Tribune. July 21, 2010.
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