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Article Released Charges Many Nursing Home Owners and Governmental Agencies with Enabling Nursing Home Abuse and “Eldercide”

On the eve of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Dorotha A. White Foundation has released an article charging that many nursing homes and governmental agencies are unwitting collaborators in elder abuse, the mistreatment of senior citizens and Eldercide, the systematic institutionalization of the elderly and infirm in nursing homes that leads to their premature death. The foundation reports that these abuses are shockingly common and rising. Today’s victims are our parents, brothers and sisters, and us. The complete article, "Nursing Home Abuse - An Institutional Life", is available in PDF form at Caregiver Management Systems, Inc. A MS Word document is also available for reporters and interested parties who wish to use parts of the article in stories and information pieces. The article is based on stories from Los Angeles Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The New York Times,Chicago Tribune, Kansas Capital-Journal, New Orleans Times-Picayune, CBS News, Kansas City Daily Record, and Time Magazine. The following subject experts and organizations are quoted in the article: Cliff Zucker, executive director of Disability Advocates Inc.; Benjamin Wolf, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois; Rocky Nichols, executive director of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas; Senate Finance Committee Chair, Senator Chuck Grassley; the Office of Inspector General; Nursing Home Abuse Resource Center; Perfect Cause; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Praveen Gupta of Accelper Consulting and Six Sigma; Jerry Rhoads, CEO of Caregiver Management Systems, Inc.; Jennifer Kelly of the Nursing Home Watch; and AMA President J. Edward Hill. Highlights from the article: "Nursing Home Abuse: The Perils of an Institutionalized Life" Turning Eldercide into Elderpride

  • The abuse of America’s senior citizens continues despite thousands of media stories and lawsuits. Drowned out by the "flavor of the day" hot issue topics, the cries of victims’ loved ones go unheeded. The elderly have no flags to wave at marches they lack the energy to organize or attend. Pictures of victimized senior citizens never make the evening news. The "evil doers" go unpunished as America remains clueless to the abuse and murder of our senior citizens. This article is dedicated to those victims on the eve of the first annual "World Elder Abuse Awareness Day," sponsored by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, to be held on June 15th.
  • What are the underlying causes and what is needed? In an August 19, 2004 PR Newswire story, Jennifer Kelly, of Nursing Home Watch, commented "Many facilities are understaffed and the care of a loved family member is left to poorly-trained nursing staff and aides who are overworked and underpaid. Many facilities are so short-staffed that they operate in violation of state law. Failure by the facility to do background checks also leads to an inexperienced, low quality worker. The highly stressful nature of the work, due to insufficient staffing and time to complete tasks, can lead to burnout, negative job attitudes, a loss of empathy for the patient, and ultimately abuse."
  • Nursing homes and the institutional life Nursing home residents are a highly vulnerable population and often isolated, making them easy targets for less than humane care. In his 1970 report on nursing homes, Ralph Nader called old age "the last segregation."
  • Mental institutions - past and present The conditions within mental institutions of the past can be compared to many nursing homes of today. Patients living in a mental ward in the early 1900's lived under rigid hospital conditions, were told when to get up and when to sleep, ate meals planned and prepared by others, had no responsibilities, stopped making decisions for themselves, and were often neglected.
  • Nursing homes and mental institutions - the line is blurring Is a comparison of today’s nursing homes to mental institutions fair?
  • Nursing home abuse, assult, neglect, and "eldercide" - a growing problem The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 states that all residents in nursing homes are entitled to receive quality care and live in an environment that improves or maintains the quality of their physical and mental health. However, the care that senior citizens receive ranges widely from genuine compassion to abuse or indifference.
  • Abuse by nursing home operators and inadequate staffing - the profit motive According to the Center for Nursing Home Abuse, shocking stories of abuse and neglect exist because many nursing home owners are driven more by profits than care of residents.
  • There is hope - quality care in skilled nursing home facilities does exist today While most news about the industry is bleak with stories of poor care, overworked staff, and aides who abuse the residents, many skilled nursing facilities are full of dedicated, caring individuals who go to great lengths to provide the best possible service for their residents.
  • To move to quality care, nursing homes must overcome managing regulatory agency obstacles Confused by complex JCAHO (Joint Council on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) compliance guidelines, government regulations, and profit motives, the nursing home industry hasn't changed in over fifty years and remains an antiquated, bureaucratic management system.
  • Elderpride - the solution to improve the situation in America's nursing homes Elderpride is a new infrastructure that focuses on restorative programming, not warehousing; a system that creates incentives for restorative and health preservation services, rather than treatment; and a model that pursues health preservation and wellness, instead of profit and money. The Elderpride solution also calls for the establishment of a National Health Policy to nationalize and privatize health care as a right to receive quality care.
  • Action must be takenThe problem still exists today. Our country’s leaders and the medical industry need to address this pending crisis, before it increases to the intensity of the immigration, Hurricane Katrina, Medicare, Iraq war and terrorism issues.
The Dorotha C. White Foundation, for which this article was written, was founded by Shari and Jerry Rhoads to campaign for legislation that will require providers of health care to be paid on the basis of outcome and that the regulatory process is incentive not enforcement driven. Shari Rhoads' mother, Dorotha C. White, was abused and neglected in an Illinois nursing home that committed three immediate jeopardy Class A violations after she had suffered an undetected heart attack as a result of being dehydrated and over medicated by the attending physician.

June 15, 2006

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