Safety: Protecting Against Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is rampant and growing. Recent research has shown that nearly one-third of Senior Care facilities in the United States have been cited for elder abuse violations. According to the Department of Human Health and Services, “Estimates and reports of elder abuse are lower than the actual prevalence, and the process must be strengthened to protect residents.”
In Senior Care Facilities, 44% report abuse from caregivers, while 50% of caregivers admit to abusing residents. An astonishing 95% say they have been neglected or have witnessed another resident being neglected. As a result of this, residents suffer a higher level of psychological distress and studies have shown that those being abused suffer from more health issues and have a 300% greater risk of death. This results in direct medical costs which add $5.3 billion to national health expenditures and $2.9 billion paid by victims.
In order to protect against this, there are companies that offer senior care audits, which involve weekly audits for a monthly fee that is usually less than 5% of the average monthly assisted living cost. The audit involves a visit where an appraisal is performed to determine if abuse is occurring. The auditor will assess living conditions such as cleanliness, clutter, odor, caregiver support and so on. If abuse is suspected, depending on the severity, either an immediate call is made to 911, and in addition, the auditor will contact the Adult Protective Services (APS) agency in the state where the elder resides.