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Is The Care Provided In Nursing Homes Actually Getting Worse?

nursing home neglectNo one wants to hear of abuse of our elderly, especially at the hands of people that have been trusted and paid large sums of money to protect and care for them. Unfortunately, despite efforts to regulate the level of care received in nursing homes and other assisted care environments, there is still rampant abuse within many of these facilities.

Current Nursing Home Regulations

Any facility that receives Federal funds through Medicare or Medicaid must conform to the regulations put forth in the Nursing Home Reform Act, started in the late 1980’s. These requirements are the minimum and compliance is expected by all states, although many states have tougher laws regulating their facilities. The Federal regulations encompass staffing requirements, patient care and assessment parameters. On paper, if the standards were being met and enforced, the incidents of abuse and neglect would be rare. However, recent reports seem to point to widespread abuse.

  • A 95-year-old woman died after a morphine overdose last year at Capitol Lakes Health Center
  • A 75-year-old woman fell 26 times before breaking her pelvis in 2010 at Nazareth Health and Rehabilitation Center
  • Nursing home failed to treat an elderly, wheelchair-bound patient after her left thighbone broke mysteriously, a serious injury that led her to suffer cardio-respiratory distress days later

These are just a tiny sample of the reports generated throughout the country. Reports of physical, mental, sexual and financial abuse seem common and continuous.

What the Statistics Say About Nursing Home Care

Finding accurate statistics on nursing home abuse is difficult due to states reporting abuse differently. But the statistics that are available are disconcerting.

  • 91% of nursing homes lack adequate staff to properly care for patients
  • 36% of nursing homes have been cited for violation of elder abuse laws
  • In 2010, there were 5,961,568 elderly abuse cases reported in the U.S. Not all of these are attributed to nursing homes, but still a staggering number

Even with continued attention in the news and government about the neglect and abuse happening in the elder and assisted care field, the problem does not seem to be going away. Many nursing homes seem to be more concerned with profits versus level of care. Depending on current government regulations to protect our elderly does not seem to be working. Until there can be true reform in how these facilities are regulated and held accountable, it is difficult to trust that our elderly are safe. Sources…

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