Villa passes measure to protect nursing home residents

SPRINGFIELD – To protect nursing home residents from harsh restraining practices, State Senator Karina Villa fought for a protective measure to pass out of the Senate on Thursday.

“When entrusting nursing homes with our loved ones, we want to know they are going to the safest place possible that will take care of them,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “This legislation will ensure nursing homes do not engage in any restraining practices that could be more harmful than helpful to its residents.”

Senate Bill 1497 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 bill 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.

“No one wants to feel like a captive in their own bed, unable to move about freely,” Villa said. “Nursing home residents deserve the right kind of care that won’t prohibit their movements.”

This bill 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 passed the Senate and now heads to the House floor.