Violent incidents are taking place in Illinois nursing homes, highlighting a new, volatile environment in places where the elderly and sick expect care and peace, the Chicago Tribune reports.
More than any other state, Illinois relies heavily on nursing homes to house mentally ill patients, including those who have committed crimes. A Tribune investigation found that government, law enforcement, and the industry have failed to manage the influx of younger residents who shuttle into nursing facilities from jail cells, shelters, and psychiatric wards.
Mentally ill patients constitute more than 15 percent of the state’s total nursing home population of 92,225, and the number of residents convicted of serious felonies has increased to 3,000. Among them are 82 convicted murderers, 179 sex offenders and 185 armed robbers. The state’s background checks on new residents are riddled with errors and omissions that understate their criminal records, the Tribune found, and homes with the most felons are among those with the lowest nursing staff levels.