I really applaud Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s efforts to improve the safety of patients in nursing homes throughout the state. Her “Operation Guardian” uses multi-disciplinary teams from various state and local agencies to conduct unannounced sweeps at facilities thought to care for people with outstanding arrest warrants.
To date, the operation has conducted 21 unannounced sweeps of Illinois nursing homes that has resulted in the identification of more than 100 nursing home patients with active arrest warrants. In some situations, the people we not arrested due to the fact that they may have suffered physical or mental impairments that made their arrests unreasonable.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the most recent sting operation took place days ago at Central Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on the Northwest side of Chicago. The crackdown resulted in the arrest of four patients with various criminal pasts.
Yet the fact remains that some potentially dangerous people were arrested from nursing homes where they lived freely amongst especially vulnerable people.
As I have said before, I firmly believe that the more attention that gets heaped on the safety issues facing patients in nursing homes is for the best. But, my real question is,
Why do skilled nursing facilities continually allow criminals to live freely amongst the most vulnerable people in the first place?
I assume members of Operation Guardian have access to databases where they are able to access information regarding open arrest warrants? Why not give nursing homes access to these databases and allow them to conduct their own review of patients in their facilities?
Further, until there are severe penalties on the books to encourage facilities to rid themselves of the bad seeds, there is little incentive for facilities to do their own house cleaning.
For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.
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