Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed a package of bills into law that are designed to improve health care for seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Among them is House Bill 3147, which requires long-term care facilities to make “every reasonable effort” to facilitate at least one phone or video call with a family member daily during a governor-declared disaster, such as a pandemic. Created to address an issue that arose during COVID-19 when patients in long-term care were unable to communicate with family members due to facility lockdowns, it takes effect immediately.

The other bills in the package include:

  • House Bill 677, which requires all healthcare workers whose licenses have a continuing education requirement to take at least a one-hour training course each renewal period on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of people Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. This new requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2023.
  • House Bill 848, which extends the Illinois Lottery’s special scratch-off game to fund Alzheimer’s care, support, education, and awareness through January 1, 2025. It was previously set to expire in 2022.

Paula Basta, director of the Illinois Department on Aging said, “The past year has been challenging for all of us, but especially for older adults. This package is about respecting yesterday, supporting today, and planning for tomorrow.”

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