State Senate Discusses the Issue of Mentally-Ill-Felons in Nursing Homes

State senators held a hearing yesterday to examine ways to improve safety at nursing homes, where a high number of mentally ill, felons reside.These residents have led to reports of assaults, rape and even murder in such nursing homes.

Legislators heard testimonies from experts, government officials and the public in considering "what laws we can strengthen and what laws we can enforce better,"  said the spokesman for the Senate Democratic Caucus. He also said that state lawmakers "are definitely trying to work together as much as we can" with the newly formed Nursing Home Safety Task Force.  He expects legislation to flow from the collaboration.

One participant said, "I am concerned that our current mental health system is not always providing quality treatment for the mentally ill and creates safety hazards for both patients and our community."

 The hearing was prompted by a news series that exposed the dangerous mix of elderly residents and mentally ill felons in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.