Children In Nursing Homes: Truly The Most Vulnerable

iStock_000008548287XSmallMany families are forced to institutionalize their disabled children in nursing homes because of many states don’t have the resources to pay for in-home care.

This puts parents in the difficult position of funding expensive home care on their own or having their child live in a nursing home, surrounded by elderly adults, and many families simply cannot afford the cost of in-home care workers and nurses.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that about 4,000 children live in nursing homes in the U.S. and that number is steadily growing as health care resources are increasingly spread thin.

Thousands of children with disabilities end up living in nursing homes because of insufficient coverage for in-home care by state governments and a shortage of skilled home care workers. In 2000, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services estimated that 4,886 children lived in nursing homes; of these children, 1,222 suffered from mental retardation or a developmental disability.

Medicaid guarantees long-term care for all people with disabilities, including children. However, many disabled children, who would be adequately served by proper in-home care, end up in nursing homes despite higher costs for nursing home care than in-home care.

The University of Minnesota Research and Training Center on Community Living reported that home and community care cost about $26,000 per year while the state of Georgia spends about $81,000 per year on each patient in nursing homes. Although some federal and some state funding has been increased to help remove disabled children from facilities with four or more disabled persons (congregate settings), the number of institutionalized children has remained largely unchanged.

Many disabled children end up in nursing homes because of insufficient state resources. About 93,000 special needs people are on waiting lists for home and community based services. However, there are not enough skilled nurses, therapists, and home health care workers to support the people who most need their help. In many cases, the family’s private insurance won’t cover the cost of medical equipment, and in-home nursing and therapy. This leaves many families with only one choice, nursing home care.

Most nursing home care is focused on older adults because elderly residents constitute the majority of the resident population. As expected, treatment and health concerns differ for older adults and children. Also, children often spend more years living in nursing homes than the elderly adults they are surrounded by because of the age difference. This means more years spent living in a nursing home, away from their family, usually costing Medicare more money than if the child were able to live at home receiving in-home support services.

However, until states step up funding to improve in-home care resources, these children will remain stuck in nursing homes, hardly a suitable environment for most children, especially when their families would prefer them to be living at home.

Nursing Homes, Group Homes & Day Care Facilities Responsibility To Care For Children

The foreign environment of a nursing-home-world created for adults, leaves many children at risk for abuse and mistreatment at the hands of caregivers and other patients.  I have successfully prosecuted cases on behalf of many of these children and young-adults in the following types of cases:

Working side-by-side with some of the most respected authorities on the long-term effects of abuse on young people, we have successfully secured money to provide for the future.  Many of the sexual abuse and molestation cases we work on can be resolved prior to the filing of a lawsuit, in a confidential manner– with minimal impact on the individual.

If you believe a young person suffered from an injury, abuse or neglect in a nursing home, foster home, day care, group home or any other structured setting, we would honor the opportunity to speak with you.  As always our services are free if we do not recover on your behalf. (800) 926-7565

Learn more about the laws applicable to Virginia nursing homes here.
Click on the links for information on nursing homes in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Richmond

Resources: Thousands of Children with Special Needs Are Living in Nursing Homes

Research and Training Center on Community Living: Number of Children in Nursing Homes 2002

Wall Street Journal: Babes Among Elders, Nursing-Home Kids

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