Villa law to protect nursing home residents signed by governor

SPRINGFIELD – Nursing home residents will now be protected from harsh restraining practices thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Karina Villa.

“Preserving human dignity and ensuring the highest standard of care should be common practices in nursing homes,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Promoting a culture of compassion, respect and person-centered care is important for upholding the well-being of nursing home residents.”

The new law prohibits the use of physical restraints and the misuse of psychotropic medications to restrain nursing home residents. According to American Association of Retired Persons, Illinois is the second worst state in the misuse of psychotropic drugs in nursing homes in America.

The law also clarifies the difference between positioning devices and physical restraints and allows a resident or their representative to still request a positioning device. Positioning devices are usually a body or belt harness which provide someone additional support for their stability, posture and function when sitting or on their back. When using a positioning device, the health care provider must ensure that it does not restrict the resident’s freedom to move or get out of bed.

“Illinois is ensuring that nursing home residents have autonomy, freedom and an overall higher quality of life,” said Villa. “It is our responsibility to support and protect our most vulnerable community members. This law will set new precedents for nursing home care across the state, transforming Illinois into a model of respectful and compassionate standards.”

This law was inspired by members of Villa’s Senior Advisory Committee, who voiced concerns about the misuse of psychotropic drugs. Those interested in joining the Senator’s committee, which meets the second Friday of every month, can call her office at 630-326-9319 or email

Senate Bill 1497 was signed on Friday, Aug. 4th and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.