In San Diego, throughout California and across the United States, nursing home abuse is a constant concern. People who need to place an elderly, ill or infirm loved one in a nursing home do so expecting that there will be the proper care and treatment provided. Unfortunately, overt abuse and lapses in care do happen. While there are safeguards to address these issues in nursing homes, assisted living facilities are generally not subject to the same oversight.
Lack of protections in assisted living facilities is worrisome
There might be an assumption that assisted living facilities operate under the same rules as nursing homes. That, however, is untrue. With the increase in assisted living facilities across the nation, the rules and regulations have not kept pace. Statistically, there are more than double the number of assisted living facilities in the U.S. when compared to nursing homes. Although the federal government pays for almost 17% of the care given to assisted living residents through Medicaid, it relies on local agencies to watch for abuse.
Government researchers found that the requirements for investigating allegations of elder abuse in assisted living facilities are far less stringent than for nursing homes. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that abuse in nursing homes must be reported based on federal law. That is not the case for assisted living. More than half of the Medicaid agencies in the nation did not have a number for incidents of elder abuse in assisted living facilities. California has taken steps to strengthen its assisted living laws with enhanced training about abuse and by adding rules for homes that accept Medicaid.
Family members must be attentive and seek advice
Whether it is in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, it is important for family members to be vigilant. Lack of care and mistreatment can lead to worsening health, broken bones, internal damage, illness and emotional problems. People can even lose their lives. Given the limited assistance from the government, it is important to know what steps to take.