Healthcare Focus on Increasing Profits, Elderly Forgotten

Did you know more that 1/3 of elderly dementia patients suffer some form of psychological or physical abuse? The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates over a million Americans over the age of 65 have been abused by a loved one or caregiver.

Why are so many elderly patients and residents failed by a system built to serve them? It appears that many issues stem from healthcare administration.

The groups and organizations charged with making critical decisions for the elderly are comprised of both non-profits and for-profit businesses. Recently the federal government made major changes to a sect of eldercare, known as PACE, or Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly. Historically PACE was run strictly by non-profits, but now for-profit businesses are eligible to operate PACE programs.

Many argue for-profit businesses simply aren’t qualified to operate and manage health care systems and that their focus is centered around revenue rather than patient needs. The gross understaffing of nursing homes across the country is perhaps the most obvious example of putting patients at risk in order to cut costs (a reoccurring issue in both non-profit and for-profit organizations).

Healthcare organizations also cut cost through hiring minimally qualified candidates and/or providing little to no training, a common occurrence in home-care agencies.

Whether your loved one is in a nursing home or is being cared for at home knowing the warning signs of elder abuse and neglect could prevent serious injury and even death. Dental disease, dirty bed sheets, unclean restrooms and absence of bedrails are often overlooked signs of abuse. Click here to learn more.

There isn’t an easy solution to ending elder abuse, but collectively we have an opportunity to greatly reduce the number of older Americans who suffer abuse. Before selecting a nursing home or home health aide ask the provider the following: when is the last time your organization was inspected? How is staff selected and trained? Who is responsible for evaluating quality of care? In the event abuse or neglect has already occurred it is crucial to place a report as soon as possible. A elder law or nursing home abuse and neglect attorney will be able to advise what legal options you have.

A critical part of seeking a solution is seeking penalties for those who are guilty of abuse or neglect. For more information, or to contact an injury attorney, click here.