Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Neglect and Retaliation: Reports and Current Experiences

Neglect and Abuse aren't limited to the Long Term Care Facilities and more importantly, there are NO FEDERAL OR STATE AUTHORITIES currently who have any way to monitor or enforce Individual Rights in other levels of facilities because this level is NOT subsidized by Medicaid or covered by Medicare.

Here's the resource: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/229299.pdf 

It was a research project funded by a grant and finished/published in 2010. That's five years ago!

Direct quote from the beginning of the publication:


"This study focused on detection, investigation, and resolution of elder abuse and neglect complaints in what are known as residential care facilities (RCFs). 

"These facilities are the most rapidly growing form of senior housing. This growth is a result both of the preferences of the elderly and their families and of public policy aimed at reducing nursing home use. 

"RCFs are referred to by a variety of names across the states, including assisted living facilities, personal care homes, domiciliary care homes, adult congregate living facilities, adult care homes, and shelter care homes. 

"The best estimate is that some 50,000 facilities nationwide house a mainly older population in between 900,000 and one million beds. In addition, an unknown number of unlicensed homes house a mixed population of poor older persons and individuals with mental illness. By contrast, there are about 17,000 nursing homes with 1.6 million residents."

Let's do the math of this "best estimate":  50,000 facilities/between 900,000 and one million beds in Residential Care/Assisted Living facilities AND 17,000 nursing homes with 1.6 million residents.

MORE THAN 2 MILLION PEOPLE IN 2010 in some form of "Assisted/Full" Service Living. 2010 was the year Mom was "entrapped" and went into the LTC system and began her almost four years of incidents of neglect, abuse and torment in the name of "Long Term Care".

"Purpose of the Study. The federal government does not regulate RCFs, so this study focused on examining state processes for detecting, investigating, resolving and preventing elder abuse in RCFs. In addition, we sought to identify smart practices that might be replicated in other settings."

Five years ago. The author(s) ... used Federal funds provided by the U.S. Department of Justice..." and prepared a report specifically citing problems, challenges and "smart practices".

What were their findings?

"Vulnerability of Residents. An extremely vulnerable population resides in RCFs, with a mix of advanced age, chronic disease and disability, and social isolation. An estimated 87 percent of residents are not married, while 27 percent have no living family members, and many residents are poor. 

"Many are cognitively impaired, while others have intellectual disabilities or persistent and severe mental illness, and some exhibit challenging behaviors. These characteristics make it difficult for residents to safeguard their own interests. 

"Numerous studies suggest that cognitive impairment, behavioral symptoms, and limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs) increase an elder‟s risk for physical, sexual or psychological abuse. 

"In addition, several studies have found that RCF residents suffer from chronic diseases, and such diseases or conditions are often misdiagnosed or “under-treated.” 

"Such residents may be at risk for abuse because of their level of impairment, but as importantly, they face significant risk of neglect that may lead to premature mortality or increased morbidity."

INTERESTING.  Sounds like what I've been writing about for several months only this comes from a report written in 2010 and written through a Grant to "investigate" Residential Care Facilities, not Long Term Care Facilities.

Listen up, Missouri and many of you other States who've enacted "Ombudsmen" programs as "mediators for Long Term Care Residents" and rely, as stated on the Missouri www.voyce.com website and on the Missouri DHSS website:

The published report above clearly states a high percentage of residents of facilities where they have more capabilities cannot communicate or represent their needs adequately yet Missouri publicly states these individuals are expected to contact the Ombudsman office directly. 

Check out the Voyce site for Missouri, it clearly sends the message Seniors can "use the site" to connect -- yet how many in Long Term Care or any Residential Care Facility have access without supervision of a computer, their own private password OR CAN EVEN USE A COMPUTER?

Justification for the inability to provide services promoted to be provided by a federally mandated "watch dog" for Long Term Care Facilities due to "lack of volunteers" does not protect Senior lives.

How about hiring a someone with a degree in Geriatrics and practicing Social Worker and possibly also has an RN degree to make unannounced visits around the area interviewing "at random" residents of all abilities with a set list of questions about the realities of "Long Term Care Living". 

Of course, we'd have to have a process through which these concerns can be made and a significant way to correct all findings. The DHSS can't seem to make it happen as they're limited, or so it seems, to one or two annual visits and then to some "unknown" systems and procedures for following up on any reports they receive.

WHAT ARE THOSE SYSTEMS AND PROCEDURES?  I'VE BEEN TRYING TO FIND THOSE FOR ALMOST FOUR YEARS.

How about creating a real list of questions about possible Neglect and how about interviewing families of Long Term Care residents -- there are quite a few despite the claims made most Seniors have no one. 

Many of us "take under our wings" others whom we meet in these facilities and could easily provide information about neglect and abuse but have no "legal power" as a "friend".

We all need concerned friends. We all need caring "neighbors" and "visitors" walking the halls of LTC's.

And, when, as we've experienced, an "employee" of an LTC admonishes us for "walking around" or "visiting someone other than whom we came to visit", there oughta be a law, a report form, a means to share this "information" about a facility that apparently doesn't want eyes that see and ears that listen to share neglect, abuse and just plain old poor work ethics to be shared and exposed.

HERE'S AN UPDATE on an earlier blog entry about the discriminatory practice at two earlier holiday meals where friends and family, for a set price, could eat with their family members who were residents of Mom's old LTC facility.

Well, at least this Mother's Day the lady I'd mentioned in another entry who was turned away from the main dining area of Mom's old facility was "accommodated".

That's the word for it -- accommodated. They put her and another resident (a fully mobile, walking, resident) in a side room that was set up with additional tables and chairs. Separate but equal, as they used to say.

Then, I saw a man, in a wheelchair, by himself, no visitors or family for the dining experience come in or be brought in (can't remember) and seated at a table by himself.

I understand. Some might have liked the "separate" dining experience but there was more than enough vacant seats and tables at the "first dining" we experienced for the two ladies yet they were left by themselves and had been told that was where they would eat.

People, including me, had "spoken up" about how she was treated. 

The facility "accommodated" but for those of us who remember other "separate but equal" facilities including water fountains, restrooms, restaurants, etc., this "arrangement" was not right, it wasn't just and it was discriminatory decades after the marches and the protests.

There was room for all, for the few who always come to dinner in this dining room, in this place they call their "home" and where they are the few, the select who haven't lost the ability to communicate, to feed themselves, to "dine" with others and be "social" or not as they choose.

It brings tears to my eyes now to see so well how there is a separation, a segregation. I can understand now how Mom was adamant about NOT eating in the area "on the floor" as that was the place where those who were "less competent" and "less capable" were taken to dine. 

So, she pushed herself. When she still had her walker, before the facility decided it was best "removed", she'd make herself take that long walk down the halls to the elevator and then the walk into the Main Dining Room.

She pushed herself. Rolling her wheelchair when no one would help her. Struggling to get to the place where she, still capable of thinking, talking and being a part of "regular life" to whatever degree remained of her brain being continually assaulted by Lewy Body Dementia, could be as "normal" as possible in this place she told me she never wanted to go.

I didn't want you to go either, Mama. I made a continual place in my life for you and so did my beloved husband. You were a part of our family for almost forty years. We were a part of your life. 

Our lives were intertwined and we were happy, content and lived a life many others envied while a few sought to find "abominable". Sad for those few. We know the love we shared as a multi generational family. We cared about each other and for one another.

Age Discrimination is alive and well.  
Ability Discrimination is alive and well. 
Power & position are still wielded by those who have it.

Happy Mother's Day (again) even though you're not with us for the second year, Mama, you're in our thoughts and you live on in us in all we do because of who you were.

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