Elderly people in Florida who require 24/7 care may be looked after in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. While nursing homes are considered clinical settings with medical personnel on staff, assisted living facilities are more like shared homes with caregivers. Unfortunately, there are fewer protections against elder abuse in assisted living facilities.
There are twice as many assisted living facilities as nursing homes
Across the country, assisted living facilities greatly outnumber nursing homes. There is also more federal money being spent on assisted living facilities as 17% of assisted living residents rely on Medicaid to pay for their room and board. Despite these numbers, there is a lack of federal oversight of assisted living facilities. Though assisted living facility abuse goes on all the time, it is largely left up to state governments and local law enforcement agencies to deal with.
Lack of monitoring and reporting
There is a dangerous lack of monitoring and reporting of elder abuse at assisted living facilities according to the Government Accountability Office. This organization found that 26 state Medicaid agencies don’t even maintain records of serious elder abuse incidents because they have no system in place to collect the data. Three state agencies also don’t monitor unexplained deaths in assisted living facilities.
Quality of care questionable in Medicaid facilities
Seniors who receive Medicaid and could qualify for care in a nursing home are sometimes able to use the Medicaid waiver program to pay for care in an assisted living facility. According to some elder abuse advocates, many of the assisted living facilities that accept Medicaid payments are providing residents substandard care. Since Medicaid pays a lower rate than private insurance, these facilities tend to cut corners.
Injured residents and their families can sue
If you have a loved one who was injured by negligence or abuse at an assisted living facility, you might want to help your relative file a lawsuit against the facility. People who were injured in assisted living facilities may pursue compensation for things like increased medical costs and pain and suffering.