As if nursing home patients and their families didn’t have enough to worry about with respect to receiving proper medical care, many patients may be shocked to learn that they are living amongst registered sex offenders. While the component of sex offenders in nursing homes is nothing new, the fact remains that as a generation of sexual deviants ages— their need for skilled nursing care is expanding.
With few alternatives, many convicted felons— some of whom have particularly disturbing backgrounds are settling into long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While their need for medical care is apparent, what is concerning is that on many occasions, these people are placed in facilities side-by-side with other patients– without any advance knowledge.
Currently, only several states including: California, Oklahoma, Illinois and Minnesota have laws that require a nursing home to announce to other patients at the facility when a sex offender has entered the facility. Thus, in the majority of situations, convicted felons with violent backgrounds are living freely amongst nursing home patients without information to other patients.
A recent article in the Star-Telegram highlighted just how extensive the situation of convicted sex offenders living in nursing homes can be. Approximately, 15-20 of the 65 patients at Lake Worth Nursing Home have a criminal record that includes sex offenses. Shockingly, while Texas has a law that requires the state to inform area-residents of the presence of sex offenders in the area, the law doesn’t apply to the notification of other patients at the facility.
Certainly, even without any legislation that requires nursing homes to notify patients of sex offenders or provide special accommodations for them, I would certainly argue that many of these facilities are exposing themselves to increased liability by housing these potentially dangerous people.
Given that the rate of recidivism in sex offenders is alarmingly high, it is fair to assume that at least some of these people have indeed more criminal acts during their nursing home admission. In these circumstances, I feel a strong argument could be made that simply due to their criminal backgrounds, the nursing home was on notice that the individual could have violent propensities.
However, my guess is that despite the potential threat to the safety of other patients, nursing homes in Texas and other states will continue to bring out the welcome wagon for patients of all backgrounds— regardless of the severity of their indiscretions— due to the fact that the government reimburses facilities that care for criminals the same as they do for patients who have lived an admirable life. Perhaps we need to re-consider the way we provide governmental benefits to those who have already harmed society?
For laws related to California nursing homes, look here.
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