SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- The Illinois Department of Public Health shows nursing home residents account for 43% of COVID-19 deaths across the state.
Since the start of this pandemic, many have adapted with technology to see loved ones. However, it isn’t that easy for people living in long term care facilities.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing for a proposal that requires facilities to train employees on virtual visits. That way they can help residents meet virtually with their family.
Lori Hendren, Associate Director of AARP Illinois, said her organization is in full support of this legislation. She explained Illinois’ most vulnerable population has suffered the most during the pandemic.
“This is a compassionate plan that has been worked through with listening sessions and we want to make sure the voices and the faces of everyone we love are accessible,” said Hendren.
Lawmakers hope this plan can help residents see a familiar face if they’re in isolation. Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin) said while some facilities have started to allow in-person visits, others continue to suffer from social isolation.
“It seems so simple,” said Moeller. “Making basic technology we have all mastered during this pandemic, available to nursing home residents so they can FaceTime, Zoom and Google meet with loved ones to let them know they’re going to be okay, or to hang in there when times are tough.”
Senate Bill 2137 still awaits a second reading on the chamber floor.
April 20, 2021 at 09:15PM