elderly vidchat 081721SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Tom Cullerton (D- Villa Park) spearheaded a measure that was signed on Monday to help connect residents of long-term care facilities to loved ones during disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve learned from this pandemic how social isolation can have such a negative effect on mental health, especially for older adults in our state,” Cullerton said. “It’s so important that if anything like this pandemic happens again, long-term care facilities have a plan of action to make sure their residents have the opportunity to call their loved ones frequently.”

According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, more than one-third of adults aged 45 and older report feeling lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. COVID-19 has only exacerbated these statistics.

The measure signed today would require long-term care facilities to make every reasonable effort to facilitate at least one phone or video call between a resident and a family member each day during a disaster declared by the governor. It also requires hospitals to develop a policy to encourage patients to engage with family members during a public health emergency.

House Bill 3147 goes into effect immediately.