ILLINOIS — A group says dementia patients in the state aren’t getting the treatment they need or deserve.
Sometimes the seniors are sent to hospitals from places like nursing homes and then are left there. Now, lawmakers want to change that.
In some cases, family members aren’t even notified where they are. Seniors are being discharged from care centers because some facilities don’t have enough staff to take care of their needs.
That’s why lawmakers are re-enforcing a 2010 law to make sure staff levels are up to par because, at least one-third of nursing homes across the state, are getting failing grades.
For Jerry Rabbe, his mother, Mary, battled Alzheimer’s for years. She was one of the unfortunate ones who could not get the proper care she needed.
“It’s like she was a baby. She needed to be taken care of and somebody needed to be there for her.”
She was involuntarily discharged from several nursing home and care facilities.
“Gave me the 30-day notification which escalated to about a week later. ‘You need to get her out of here. We’ve got a place for her. They found a spot for her.'”
After a few weeks of being passed around, Mary’s battle ended. But, for Rabbe, he’s still fighting to prevent these situations from happening to someone else.
“If they have properly trained people and their facilities to take care of them, to really take care of them and be right there.”
Lawmakers hope to close loopholes in the current law. They’re pushing to hold more facilities accountable for not meeting staffing requirements.
“They just need to provide the staff that the law passed and, if not, they need to get a penalty. Instead of the money getting pocketed, it would go back to the state.”
The legislation would save the state money. Many times, seniors who are discharged are sent to hospitals and left there, racking up thousands in medical bills.
“It’s a big problem.”
Another part of the bill would make sure the state’s long-term care official would be notified when a patient is discharged.
“At this time, an incapable resident, with no representatives, have no one to advocate on their behalf and does not want to defend our most vulnerable population.”
As to why the hundreds of long-term care facilities are not following the law, legislators say it’s due to the Department of Public Health failing to enforce it.
Part of the legislation would better equip the department with information to make its duties easier, saving taxpayer dollars.
According to SEIU, in 2015, 360 of 991 nursing facilities fell short of legal staffing levels, resulting in a total of 9.1 million hours of care.