Following Federal Report Finding Thousands of “Critical Incidents” Involving Seniors Every Year, LTCCC Identifies Best Practices to Improve Safety, Quality of Life, & Dementia Care
October 24, 2018 – Assisted living is a popular alternative to nursing homes for seniors who need or want residential care but want to avoid the institutional setting that the typical nursing home provides. However, in the absence of federal safety standards, assisted living facility (ALF) residents are only protected to the extent that individual states have developed regulatory requirements to ensure the safety and dignity of their residents. Unfortunately, according to a 2018 GAO report, Medicaid Assisted Living Services: Improved Federal Oversight of Beneficiary Health and Welfare is Needed, all too often states fail to protect ALF residents or even keep track of when they are harmed. The GAO found that there were an astonishing 23,000 reported cases of “critical incidents,” including abuse, neglect, exploitation, and death, in ALFs across just 22 states in 2014. While this number is significant, there is little doubt that the extent to which critical incidents occur is, actually, far greater, since only 22 of the 48 states surveyed by the GAO tracked and reported critical incidents. Moreover, the review only included Medicaid assisted living, which covers a small minority of ALF residents (most Americans pay privately for assisted living services).
“The GAO’s report provides clear evidence of the urgent need to address the health and safety of assisted living residents,” said Richard Mollot, LTCCC’s Executive Director. “In the absence of strong and clearly defined quality of care and quality of life standards, residents will continue to be susceptible to inappropriate care and potentially unsafe conditions when they move to an ALF.”
LTCCC’s new report, Assisted Living: Promising Policies and Practices, provides information and insights into best practices and policies for assisted living. The report focuses on areas of public interest and concern which we have identified as particularly important to ensuring resident safety and the ability of residents to realize assisted living’s “promise” of a resident-centered and directed, home-like environment. They include: (1) staff training requirements, (2) dementia care, (3) whether a registered nurse is employed, and (4) state oversight and quality assurance.
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