Some Consider Assisted Living System a Recipe for Abuse and Neglect
The nursing home and assisted living industry is a multibillion-dollar industry with a lot of ups and downs to the extent that it may be considered a recipe for abuse and neglect due to lack of regulation. It is a necessary market because of the demand for senior housing that ensures the aging population is taken care of.
But in Minnesota and all over the country, minimal state regulations and little involvement by federal officials has led to abuse and neglect issues that also involve medication errors and malnutrition in patients.
A recipe For Abuse and Neglect – Assisted Living?
An example of the issues existing within senior facilities is when an elderly woman was submerged in a whirlpool bath tub in the facility that she was housed in. She was not supposed to be left alone and her care chart said that facility employees were on standby during her bath to ensure her safety. Unfortunately, records indicated that she had been left unsupervised for at least 60 minutes that day, which led to deadly consequences. An investigation determined that the death was an accident, but the true nature of the death was revealed by a reporter.
Nationwide, assisted living has seen a great transformation over the past twenty years. What was once a grassroots movement that was geared at creating an innovative and human alternative to nursing homes has become an industry that makes billions and houses nearly 1 million senior citizens in the U.S. initially, these facilities were meant to provide help to elderly individuals unable to live alone, meals, and housing.
Studies have revealed that an increasing number of senior citizens in assisted living facilities are seriously ill and some are suffering from dementia. The workers who are entrusted with their care have to provide safety, manage complex medication regimens, and handle people who are so incapacitated that they may be a threat to others and even themselves. In other words, assisted living facilities are taking on the appearance of nursing homes.
On a nationwide level, the demand for assisted living is growing in demand and most states have set the entry bar rather low for workers. Not many qualifications are required and education is minimal. Minnesota is one of 14 other states where administrators don’t have to have high school diplomas.
Assisted living facilities are also charged with determining how much staff the facility requires to operate. Fourteen states have established staffing ratios. Compared to nursing homes, the monitoring that assisted living facilities receive is very little. Nonetheless, assisted living is starting to take on more complex cases. The states do have the ability to shut down a facility if it is troubled, but this is typically not done unless it is the last resort. A facility has to have years of issues in order for the closure option to be considered. Most states are also able to impose fines for safety standard violations, but the fines usually have very little sting.
While families can usually go online to compare nursing homes, assisted living is somewhat harder to compare.
Overall, is it a recipe for abuse and neglect – leading to a great deal of support for federal oversight and more regulation by the states to ensure that assisted living receives the same scrutiny that nursing homes do. Being that many assisted living facilities are handling some of the same cases and level of care that nursing homes do, it is believed that increased regulation would make the standard of care consistent.
Report suspected concerns or else you help create a recipe for abuse and neglect
For more information from the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Health Facility Complaints concerning nursing homes, assisted living and other elder care providers view resolved complaints at the MDH website.
If you have concerns about financial exploitation or any other form of elder abuse or neglect contact Minnesota Elder Abuse Attorney Kenneth LaBore toll free at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.