Settlement approved in nursing home dispute

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A federal judge has given final approval to a lawsuit settlement that calls for Connecticut officials to stop housing many mentally ill people in nursing homes.

Advocates for the mentally ill filed a class-action suit against the state in 2006, saying more than 200 psychiatric patients were needlessly institutionalized in nursing homes in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The settlement calls for moving eligible psychiatric patients into community settings.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson in Hartford approved the settlement Wednesday and awarded the patients' lawyers $1.3 million in legal fees.

Advocates for the elderly have expressed concerns for years about the dangers of housing psychiatric patients with elderly people.

The settlement involves patients at Chelsea Place Care Center in Hartford and the Touchpoints at Manchester home.

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