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Nursing home abuse protections don’t extend to assisted living

Residents of Michigan may want to learn more about how the abuse protection given to nursing homes does not apply to assisted living facilities. Nursing homes usually get federal money while assisted living oversight depends on the state where the facility has a location.

According to AARP, the industry of assisted living has rules that vary from state to state. In addition, assisted living facilities outnumber nursing homes by nearly two to one.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services relies on states

Rules for reporting are far weaker for assisted living than federal rules for nursing homes as shown by a government study. An example is that a nursing home where there is abuse must notify law enforcement within a specific time period. On the other hand, there is no such rule for assisted living facilities.

Agencies lack systems for data

State agencies cannot accurately report the number of abuse cases because they lack systems for collecting data. The number of physical, emotional and sexual abuse cases does not receive tabulation. Some of the abuses found in states include the following:

  • Unexpected or unexplained deaths
  • Unauthorized use of restraints
  • Police or doctor referrals to adult protective services

Some abuse that occurs in assisted living

If residents suffer abuse or mistreatment, they may receive protection through state elder law. There are some maltreatment signs that visitors to an assisted living facility can look for. They include the following:

  • Fear and intimidation by staff
  • Injuries such as bruising, bedsores or broken bones
  • Lack of cleanliness, unkempt appearance and body odors
  • Mood changes and crying, despondency or embarrassment
  • Weight loss and food that is below par

You may think that the government protects assisted living facilities the same way that federal protection has enforcing in nursing homes. However, assisted living facilities report to their state, not the federal government, which may be lax when abuse occurs. It’s important to pay attention to your loved one and be aware of the signs of potential abuse or neglect.