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Nursing home negligence at assisted living homes may go ignored

As millions of elderly Americans and their families consider how to best address increases in medical needs, many consider being admitted into a care facility. In New York and other states around the country, assisted living facilities often offer the level of care senior citizens are looking for. Unfortunately though, there are mounting concerns over incidents of nursing home abuse and/or negligence at many assisted-living facilities across the nation, since there is a lack of federal oversight of the industry.

The federal government doesn’t currently impose regulations or sanctions on assisted living facilities because they do not typically receive federal funding. Unlike many nursing homes, assisted living facilities are typically run independently and are monitored by individual states. Proponents of how the assisted living industry currently functions note that facilities are able to cater to the needs of the communities they serve largely because they are not subject to federal policies. Researchers with ProPublica and Frontline claim, however, that a lack of federal supervision may be compounding issues like nursing home abuse and malpractice within the industry.

The groups’ recent investigatory piece raises concerns over major patient overcrowding and staffing issues at assisted living facilities across the nation. According to the article, many facilities are not equipped to provide the level of care some patients require. Similarly, many states do not mandate that assisted-living homes staff licensed professionals to care for patients. Another major issue presented by researchers is that unlike nursing home facilities, assisted living homes are generally not subject to regular inspections.

It’s reported that the state of New York has yet to implement some regulatory changes to the assisted living industry that were recommended years ago. That’s part of the reason why some would like the federal government to impose regulations and streamline care standards for assisted living facilities everywhere.

Source: propublica.org, “Elderly, At Risk, and Haphazardly Protected,” A.C. Thompson, Jonathan Jones, Oct. 29, 2013

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