The day inevitably comes when our loved ones become unable to comfortably take care of themselves. The day when, for their own safety, they are admitted to a nursing home or long-term care facility.
You expect the nursing home will provide expert care for your family member. What you should never expect to worry about in your parents’, grandparents’ or relatives’ future is the potential for nursing home neglect or abuse.
Numbers to be aware of
The study only included high-risk claims – such as lacerations, fractures, poisoning and gangrene, among others. Overall, 18% of 37,600 episodes in which a Medicare recipient was taken to the emergency room from a nursing home went unreported and were the result of potential abuse or neglect. That 18% works out to 6,768 episodes.
Many episodes are going unreported because cases of neglect and abuse can be difficult to uncover due to the victim being afraid to tell friends or relatives, much less the authorities.
How to curb this issue
Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, issues large fines on nursing homes that misreport or fail to report abuse.
The inspector general of Health and Human Services recommended clear guidelines that outline which episodes nursing homes must report. The recommendations also included improved training for staff to identify abuse and neglect, as well as the requirement that nursing home and long-term care facility inspectors track potential issues reported internally and to law enforcement.
If your loved one is placed in a nursing facility, be sure do your research, advocate for their safety and have intimate conversations with them about their positive and negative experiences in their new home.