In the wake of a series of Chicago Tribune articles on Illinois nursing homes, in particular the problems caused by placing the mentally ill in nursing homes, the Belleville News-Democrat came out with a perceptive article on the basic problem with how Illinois treats its mentally ill. It is worth reading.Rather than place them in facilities which are dedicated to the treatment and therapy of the mentally ill, Illinois relies on placing them in private, for-profit nursing homes. There, they place enormous demands on the nursing home staff which is in turn left with insufficient time and resources to meet the care needs of traditional, geriatric nursing home residents. Sadly, the mentally ill residents are often the perpetrators of resident-on-resident assaults on fellow nursing home residents, many times on geriatric residents who are unable to defend themselves and are at risk of serious injury when assaulted.It seems that some in our state’s public health community are coming to a realization of what the basic problem is: placing the mentally ill in nursing homes alongside a geriatric population is a really horrible idea. Unfortunately, the solution is going to taking money and resources, both of which are in short supply right now.My prediction: for as much anger and disgust as the Tribune series has raised, we will continue muddling through with this same program — until something really awful happens that catches the public’s attention and really demands a solution. In the mean time, many of the problems resulting from will continue to fly below the radar, to the detriment of thousands of Illinois nursing home residents who deserve much better.