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The Rising Need of Nursing Home Abuse Law


With the re-occurring problems of nursing home abuse and neglect, the federal government has created a primary nursing home abuse law, known as The Elder Justice Act. Presented in February of 2003, the Elder Justice Act is a bill that focuses on long-term care facilities, and improving the care and safety quality of care homes throughout the United States. The primary focus of this bill is developing an official method of gathering, recording, and dispersing data acquired nationwide about nursing home abuse statistics on nursing home abuse and neglect.

Methods used by sources today to obtain statistics on abuse and neglect in nursing home facilities are not efficiently providing information that shows the severity of elder abuse and neglect committed against the residents. Different sources have different definitions for the words "abuse" and "neglect," and these different outlooks and definitions cause confusion. For example, it is obvious that the police department and an abuse counselor would have conflicting views on the definition of abuse. Therefore, the severity and importance of elderly abuse in nursing homes often goes unnoticed and continues to become an increasing problem in the United States.

In order to help combat this growing concern, a federal order requiring nursing home facilities to advise local police departments of suspected abuse of nursing home patients was enacted. The nursing home abuse law known as The Elder Justice Act was developed and constitutes and organizes an Office of Elder Justice in both the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services in order to help protect the elderly care residents. Federal definitions for the words "abuse" and "neglect" are also composed to relieve confusion and provide a stable, accurate definition that sources can use in comparing statistics.

This act also calls for the development of grants that fund research on elder abuse in nursing homes, training programs on preventing elder abuse, and studies on many other aspects of this crime. Although research programs are often limited due to lack of grant funding causing a lack of in depth and intensive research, enough information is usually obtained through the research so that teachers, nurses, administrators, doctors, and other professionals can relay the information to the general public. The research also provides tips on improving residents safety, and information to assist nursing home administrators and employees as well as addressing inadequate staffing of nursing home facilities. This nursing home abuse law is also focused on assuring a residents safety should a facility be forced to close.

Nursing home abuse reports suggest that injury and deaths are on the rise among many nursing home abuse cases if a facility is forced to close. As this problem is becoming more common throughout U.S. facilities, increasing injury and even death rates seem to be rising among the nursing home residents according to statistics as care facilities close. For this reason, the bill suggests that nursing homes reimbursed by Medicaid or Medicare inform state and federal governments in advance of the closure. Informing the authorities in advance allows them to arrange for the residents to be transferred safely and securely.

As efforts are made to improve nursing home abuse laws, sufficient funding to carry out the requirements of the laws are the usual obstacles. Federal funding is usually not available to fund the research grants and new buildings required. This is the only factor standing in the way of the Elder Justice Act and other nursing home law.

As government officials work to fund the Elder Justice Act, representatives of the bill continue to make revisions and are striving to perfect the bill to ensure the passing through the legislature for any revisions in the future. Regardless of any nursing home abuse law, the best preventative measures you can take to ensure safety for you or your loved one in a long term care facility is to be informed. That's why we have rated nursing homes across the country so you can get informed when selecting the best care facilities in your area to avoid nursing home negligence. Simply search our database and get informed today!

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