A new report from a specialized Congressional Committee reveals that one in three elders are abused by caregivers or other patients in nursing homes. These staggering numbers, discovered by the House Government Reform Committee (HGRC), cover a sum total of over 9,000 incidents spanning just two years of care. Patients who experienced abuse were most likely to have untreated bed sores, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, poor sanitation or hygiene, and an overall lack of access to medical care.
- Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, called for the report after escalating yearly state reports showed an increase in incidents across the board. These reports included yearly facility inspections on behalf of the California state government.
- A full 1,601 cases were so serious that they spurred on police or authority involvement. Other cases placed residents in harm’s way, but did not necessarily cause immediate injury.
- The reports included physical abuse, sexual abuse, lacerations, broken bones, contusions and other fully preventable accidents.
- Pennsylvania nursing homes had the highest rate of severe abuse reports of any state, with over half of all incidents causing serious or severe harm to the patients they serve.
- Across all of America, 1.6 million people live in one of the country’s 17,000 facilities. This number is slated to rise dramatically as baby boomers begin to age into seniorhood.
- The report opens up the possibility of a nationwide bill to improve care in nursing home facilities, including potential pay increases. Many nursing homes claim they cannot afford to attract and retain top-quality talent. The bill, if approved, would also make way for an Internet-based reporting system and caps on patient-staff ratios.
- The U.S. Government is the number one contributor to nursing homes via the Medicaid program.
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How should Americans plan for the elder years in a way that keeps them safe and isn’t a burden to loved ones?