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AARP bill takes aim at nursing home care

A new AARP-backed bill could help elders get the care they need by penalizing nursing homes that run with staffing shortages. According to the report, senior care advocates are pushing for the legislation, which would enforce minimum staffing mandates and make care violations more transparent. An interesting addition to the bill is that it would also limit the use of psychotropic drugs, which are sometimes used (unethically, if not illegally) to make patients easier to handle.

Nursing homes in Illinois have achieved the worst rate in the nation for patient-to-staff care hours. The state also has the second-worst rate in the country for drugging patients with antipsychotic drugs without a psychiatric diagnosis.

With a lack of staff members present, it means that patients are more likely to suffer from bed sores, malnourishment or worse. Since 39 percent of the nursing homes in Illinois received low-quality ratings, it shows that this is a bill that is needed rapidly.

What would happen to nursing homes that violated this bill?

If a nursing home violated the terms of the bill, there would be a fine structure in place for penalties. If they don't get their staffing numbers up, they'll continue to pay fines until they meet the requirements.

Nursing homes must keep up with the standard of care required of them. Not doing so could mean that patients suffer injuries or, in worst-case scenarios, pass away from a lack of proper care. That's something no one should have to worry about, especially while in a medical facility that is supposed to provide adequate support to the elderly.

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