Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing homes are meant to be a safe haven for the elderly to cared for in their golden years and instead of become a nightmare for a lot who have been subjected to countless acts of abuse and neglect. Furthermore, the significant others of those in nursing homes are subjected to highly stressful conditions by having to meet harsh economic requirements.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, there are nearly 17,000 nursing homes in the United States that currently care for 1.6 million residents, a figure expected to quadruple to 6.6 million residents by 2050. In past years, there have been reports that nearly 1/3 of all nursing homes have been cited for abuse ...view middle of the document...
“In Maryland and 47 contiguous states and the District of Columbia any two person family can’t make more than $15,130 a year if they want to receive Medicaid benefits.” ("2012 HHS Poverty Guidelines, 2012) If it is determined that you make more than $15,130 a year, he or she entering the nursing home must enter as a private resident and spend down any assets to become eligible. As an example, in the case of my grandfather between his retirement from the Navy, his social security and my grandmother’s social security, my grandmother has to give his Navy retirement check and social security check to the nursing home and still pay $3,000 a month to the nursing home to spend her money down until Medicaid will step in to help her. This leaves her with barely any money. My issue is that Medicaid states that it doesn’t want the spouse that is not living in a nursing home to be destitute but in my grandmothers case it doesn’t seem like they are giving her an option. Medicaid can also require some payback after the spouse in the nursing home has passed by billing their estate.
Because Medicaid tends to pay lower than private payers, nursing homes may try to provide second class treatment to those residents. The second issue is a moral issue. Many nursing homes attempt to squeeze more out more profit and therefore are using unqualified help, which puts the facilities and their members at a higher risk for cultivating abuse and neglect. There have also been reported cases of temp nurses being hired at nursing homes when demand increases. Problems arise when neither the temp company nor the nursing home perform background checks on the temp nurses. It has been reported that some of these temp nurses have been known to steal medications, fall asleep on the job, and even fail to perform critical tests on patients. These temp nurses can be disciplined and even lose their license but moving to another state lets them get hired again.
The third issue is political. The nursing home complaint process is the front line response system for addressing problems raised by residents, their families and nursing home staff. In recent years various Government reports have documented vulnerabilities in nursing home complaints. One of the problems with the process is that state agencies don’t investigate some of the most serious complaints within the required timeframe. State agencies didn’t investigate 7% of complaints alleging immediate jeopardy in the required two day timeframe. State agencies report that staff shortages and insufficient training limit state agencies agility to investigate within the required timeframe.
The issues mentioned above are serious and there definitely needs to be a change. State agencies should make it a policy that any complaint should be investigated within a ten day timeframe and that family members should be notified of the investigation. Additional training for all staff should be given and all employees or new...