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Massachusetts officials concerned about nursing home negligence

A recent report concerning the quality of care provided by the various senior residences has prompted some officials to express their concerns over the facilities that provide care and housing to the elderly. While stories about nursing home negligence are not uncommon, another type of residence has come under increased scrutiny: assisted living centers. While these facilities are less regulated in the care provided to seniors, they might benefit from updated mandates.

The Executive Office of Elder Affairs is charged with overseeing the estimated 220 assisted living homes located within the state. That translates to well over 13,500 seniors. Many believe that the agency is poorly equipped to handle those numbers, especially in light of the accusations that Massachusetts has failed to provide adequate staffing provisions to handle the growth in this sector. This agency itself has only two members who are charged with investigating thousands of complaints.

Other areas of concern relate to the lack of oversight and mandates to handle staff training and the proper dispensing of medications. Lack of adequate staff members has resulted in elderly residents suffering otherwise preventable falls and other accidents. Moreover, there have been no updates on state regulations in regard to the proper care and treatment of those patients who suffer from dementia-type illnesses. These patients have increased from an estimated 37 percent of the population to around 44 percent of those residing in assisted living communities.

There are no quick fixes to these problems. On the other hand, Massachusetts must ensure that the residents of all of these facilities are protected from nursing home negligence. For now, it may be up to the family members to watch carefully for signs of abuse or neglect of their loved ones. If one does suspect that an elderly family member has been the victim of abuse or negligence, one is entitled to seek assistance in filing a malpractice or personal injury claim in order to address the monetary harm that has been inflicted.

Source: seniorhousingnews.com, "Massachusetts sounds alarm on assisted living", Jason Oliva, Sept. 22, 2014

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