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Mentally Ill In Nursing Homes Given More Housing Options

A new day is coming for people with mental illness currently living in nursing homes. A federal judge recently approved a historic agreement allowing thousands of individuals with mental illness to move from nursing homes and into supportive community settings.

The agreement directly impacts approximately 4,300 Illinois residents with mental illness. They will be given the option to move from two dozen large nursing facilities called institutions for mental diseases (IMDs) to supportive community-based residences.

The case began five years ago when a group of mentally ill nursing home residents sued. They claimed that contrary to federal law they were not being housed in the least restrictive setting appropriate to their disabilities. The large IMDs housed hundreds of people with mental illness and did not provide opportunities for individual growth or self-sufficiency, leading to the possibility of nursing home abuse.

The recent agreement provides that those living in IMDs must be offered voluntary evaluations to determine whether they are candidates for a less restrictive setting. In these alternative settings, such as group homes, staff would be available to assist residents with job and life skills training, therapy and substance-abuse programs. Those who choose not to take evaluations may remain where they are and will be offered the opportunity for an annual evaluation.

The consensus is that the community care model will be less expensive for the state than the IMDs. The switch enables the state to receive Medicaid reimbursements for medications and health care of residents in community settings as opposed to the IMDs which are entirely state-supported.

Options for the Mentally Ill in New York

Mentally ill people in New York may also be given the opportunity to move out of large institutional adult homes and into their own apartments or small homes. This summer a federal appeals court ruled the state must comply with a lower court’s order and transfer thousands of people with mental illness in New York City into smaller supportive living conditions.

The U.S. District Court found New York violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by isolating roughly 4,300 people with mental illness in warehouse-like conditions. The judge said only those with the most severe mental illness or those dangerous to themselves or others should be kept in such residences.

The plan calls for New York to create at least 1,500 units of supportive housing for the next three years. This would give current adult home residents the opportunity to move into housing located throughout the boroughs where they could live independently and receive support services from psychiatrists and nurses.

These types of arrangements give people with mental illness the chance to succeed on their own and break the stereotype that people with mental illness are unable to live independently.

From outright physical and emotional abuse to bed sores from negligent care, contact a nursing home abuse attorney to handle your case.

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