SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To prevent social isolation in long term care (LTC) facilities, state Rep. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, recently backed legislation to require all long term care facilities to develop guidelines that allow for the availability of technology to prevent social isolation.
“Working in a nursing home for several years as a caregiver, I understand the toll isolation can take on residents,” said Collins. “When residents are not able to talk to their family and friends, you can see an immediate change in mood that can lead to detrimental health effects.”
A 2020 study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that isolated LTC residents are at a 50% higher risk of developing dementia, a 32% increased risk of stroke and are four times more likely to die from heart failure than other residents. Senate bill 2137, sponsored by Collins, works to address this issue by requiring all LTC facilities to implement policies and guidelines to allow technology for residents to call, email, zoom, etc. with family and friends outside of the facility. LTC facilities are able to apply for grants to receive any funding needed to acquire the adequate technology for patients. The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously and awaits Gov. Pritzker’s signature.
“COVID-19 has put tremendous pressure on our LTC facilities to provide sufficient care for residents,” Collins said. “This legislation aims to not only help residents, but also help LTC facilities by giving guidelines on how to best provide the care needed for all residents.”