Do you have a loved one with dementia? If yes, then you will want to do some due diligence if they need nursing home care. Make sure the facility you are considering actually lives up to its advertising!
Consider the case of Massachusetts, where state regulators are finding that nursing homes advertising dementia care may be guilty of false advertising.
A recent article in the Boston Globe, titled “Dementia care lacks oversight in Mass., data show,” reports that state regulators are just too busy with routine monitoring of more than 400 nursing homes to conduct spot checks for compliance with new state law standards. However, the state health department recently announced that its inspectors would now review dementia care during their annual visits to each facility.
Problem: This means some nursing homes may not be subject to these compliance checks for months.
The president of the state’s Advocates for Nursing Home Reform says the new rules, once implemented, could substantially improve the lives of nursing home residents.
Nevertheless, increased oversight and greater nursing home participation are crucial to ensure that the benefits of the new law are meaningful. In response, nursing home administrators say they are struggling to comply with the rules due to its expense.
What a mess.
The Massachusetts Senior Care Association reports that many members have spent as much as $30,000 on the required staff training. Those rules—in addition to other general training requirements—are intended to close a loophole that allowed nursing homes to "advertise" dementia units without providing added training for their workers, specialized resident activities, or safety measures to prevent residents from wandering.
Massachusetts is lagging behind the rest of the country on requiring these protections.
The original article reports that a 2005 federal report noted that 44 states at that time already had requirements governing training, staffing, and security for facilities that provide specialized dementia care. Regulators believe it was important to mandate the training, as over 50% of the state’s 41,000 nursing home residents have dementia.
If you are looking for assistance finding a safe environment for your loved one with dementia in the greater Kansas City area, then I highly recommend Steve Kuker of Senior Care Consulting. His organization has helped many of my clients find appropriate long-term care arrangements for themselves and their loved one.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: Boston Globe (February 9, 2015) “Dementia care lacks oversight in Mass., data show”