Investigators Find Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes is Prevalent and Underreported
May 1, 2018
San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) May 1, 2018 – A recent federal investigation revealed that more than 25 percent of serious cases involving the abuse of nursing home residents were not reported to law enforcement agencies. In addition, nursing homes failed to provide necessary medical care in incidents of physical abuse and sexual assault.
The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General released an emergency alert that said 134 cases of potential abuse or neglect at nursing homes were found in 33 states. Illinois had the most cases at 17, while California had 13. Auditors examined hospital records from 2015 and 2016. The suspected sexual or physical abuse in these cases was so severe that nursing home residents required emergency treatment.
“This investigation highlights once again that more needs to be done to combat elder abuse,” said elder law and estate planning attorney Michael Gilfix of Gilfix & La Poll Associates. “Family members with loved ones in senior care facilities should visit often and ask if they are being treated properly. They should also learn to identify signs of elder abuse so that it does not go unnoticed.”
According to a federal law that was enhanced in 2011, suspected abuse or neglect that causes serious bodily harm to a nursing home resident must be reported to local authorities within two hours. If the individual does not suffer serious bodily injuries, the incident must be reported no later than 24 hours. Nursing homes that fail to follow reporting requirements can be fined up to $300,000.
Out of the 134 cases, 28 percent were not reported to police within two hours. Eighty percent of the unreported cases involved the suspected sexual assault and rape of elderly patients.
The inspector general’s office said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services needs to take immediate steps to root out elder abuse and address the lack of federally mandated reporting. Investigators recommended the agency match Medicare claims from nursing home residents with emergency room claims, just like the auditors did.
Health and Human Services assistant regional inspector general Curtis Roy said his team was only able to uncover elder abuse cases that involved emergency treatment. There are likely to be many other victims.
Although investigators are continuing their probe into nursing home abuse, they said that the alert was released now because they are seeking immediate solutions to the problem. The Inspector General is expected to release a full report next year.
Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP
2300 Geng Rd., Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Telephone: (650) 493-8070
Facebook: Like Us!
- ER visits increase disability risk for seniors, says study
An elderly individual’s emergency room visit for an injury or illness could signal serious health problems, according to recent research. Adults aged 65 and older who make a trip to the ER are at a 14 percent higher risk of experiencing disability and physical decline up to six months after discharge than seniors who do […]
- Key differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities
Choosing the right type of senior care for yourself or an aging loved one can be a difficult task due to the many options available. Among the best-known types of residential senior care are assisted living centers and nursing homes. Understanding the basic differences between them and whether they fulfill one’s requirements can help the […]
- Practical tips for choosing an assisted living facility or nursing home
Last August, the largest assisted living complex in California was sued for poor care of its senior residents. The lawsuit alleged poor worker training, elderly abuse and mistreatment. Residents of the facility claimed they were left unattended, with little access to clean clothing and nutritious food. Unsurprisingly, such findings raise concerns about how loved ones […]
- How assistive technology can help individuals with disabilities
People with disabilities can benefit greatly from assistive technology (AT). There are a number of different options available, depending on the individual’s specific needs. Assistive technology can improve accessibility in the home or workplace, and help make daily activities easier. Last year, California State University, Northridge held its annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference dedicated to […]
- To the Bay Area community: Thank you.
Amidst uncertainty surrounding the new Trump Tax Law, several hundred people attended our recent Gilfix & La Poll Associates seminars. It was incredible to see all of the positive energy generated by the crowd. We are grateful for your support and attendance. These were some of our most well-attended events ever – it was clear […]