SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To ensure senior home residents do not experience social isolation, state Rep. Fran Hurley, D-Chicago, supported legislation recently signed into law that will require long term care facilities to implement policies requiring electronic communication for residents when in-person visits may be restricted.
“Long term care facilities can become a lonely place, especially during COVID-19 when guests and loved ones may not be allowed to visit,” said Hurley. “When residents are unable to communicate with family and friends, it can lead to detrimental health effects for residents, and this measure will ensure that there are guidelines in place to provide for communication in a safe way.”
A 2020 study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that isolated long term care 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, supported by Hurley, works to address this issue by requiring all facilities to implement policies and guidelines to allow technology for residents to call, email, zoom, etc. with family and friends outside of the facility.
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 was recently signed into law.
“Friends and family members of residents will now know that they can have the option of electronic communication, like calls or Facetimes to see their loved one,” said Hurley. “Our seniors deserve the best care possible, and this legislation will help establish safe lines of communication when face-to-face contact is not an option.”
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