CNN Report of Abuse in Long-Term Care Settings

Recently, CNN began publishing a series of investigative reports negatively portraying care in long-term care settings.  Argentum is providing this background and talking points to assist members in navigating dialogue surrounding this media event, to ensure the industry and broader public that senior living continues to offer a safe, meaningful and dignified environment for seniors today and in the future.

Media

Background

CNN sent an e-mail blast to subscribers this week alerting and linking them to a new investigative report detailing how some seniors were physically abused in long term care settings. The report primarily focuses on nursing homes, but mentions two cases linking the crisis to assisted living communities.

Related senior living trade press articles, February 2017:

Other recent media on elder abuse:

Argentum Media Statement

As an association of members whose daily passion is to care for seniors and provide them with an optimum living environment, we are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragedies highlighted in the recent CNN report on sexual abuse in long term care settings. Argentum has zero tolerance for abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Argentum has worked to eliminate elder abuse of all types since its inception by supporting federal and state legislation, laws and regulations addressing the issue as well as through member education and resources.

Argentum supports the role of state adult protective service agencies in investigating suspected elder abuse.

Our members care deeply about the residents they serve and the situations detailed in the CNN article are disturbing and tragic. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to all residents and families involved.

Argentum is committed to working with all stakeholders to address many of the concerns and issues raised in these articles.

Topline Messages

National Landscape: Every day, more than 835,200 seniors in more than 30,200 licensed assisted living and memory care communities across the nation experience a life with purpose, dignity and respect. (Source: Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, February 2016)

Public Policy: Argentum continually supports federal and state laws and related regulations that address elder abuse. For example, Argentum heartily supported the 2010 Elder Justice Act providing federal resources to prevent, detect, treat, understand, intervene in and if appropriate prosecute elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Standards: Argentum last year launched a pilot program of professional standards for operators of senior living communities, complementing the state laws and regulations governing the operations of those communities. The standards represent an essential part of demonstrating the senior living industry’s commitment to excellence in consumer and resident rights, quality improvement, workforce practices and regulatory compliance. To date, more than 2,000 communities from member and non-member owner/operators have attested their compliance to these standards.

Resident Satisfaction: 91 percent of assisted living residents rank care of staff as excellent or good. (Source: 2015 National Research Corporation survey.)

Industry Cohesion: Argentum looks forward to continue work with other senior advocacy groups, as well as law enforcement, legislators, the judicial system, and other stakeholders to provide a safe environment for our nation’s seniors.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (Argentum, Providers, State Partners)

Argentum FAQ

Argentum has prepared these talking points to respond to possible questions or topical areas from the media related to the CNN elder abuse series.

Q: Are you aware of a similar issue in the assisted living industry?

A: Seniors in all settings, whether in a skilled nursing facility, assisted living, at home or elsewhere are vulnerable to many different types of abuse. Since its inception in 1990, Argentum has included zero tolerance for abuse, neglect, and exploitation as part of its public policy positions and in its guiding principles.

Q: Were you aware it was such a broad problem?

A: While we have been keenly aware that elder abuse is a reality, the scope of the problem revealed at nursing homes in the CNN article is shocking. Argentum members primarily serve senior living so that is where our focus lies. Instances of abuse and neglect are deplorable and don’t reflect the mainstream experience in senior living. Argentum members employ policies and procedures to detect, report and prevent elder abuse.

Argentum and its member companies and their communities have zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. Zero tolerance is incorporated into our culture, our policies, our orientation to new staff and our ongoing training. Any staff person in our communities who observes or suspects abusive behavior or mistreatment of any kind is required to report it immediately to staff supervisors who will follow protocol. This may include calling the local police or other law enforcement agencies. Communities also will report that incident to the proper state authorities.

 Q: Do you see cameras or electronic monitoring as a solution?

A: Yes, so long as provisions allow for resident privacy, appropriate employee considerations and transparency in their use.

 

FAQ Argentum Members

(Argentum provider members would need to supply the answer in accordance with their policies and/or state laws and regulations. The questions and topical areas below are listed to better prepare a company or community for interactions with the media. In many cases company policies and protocols may exceed state regulations and should be mentioned if appropriate.)

Potential Questions

Answer Guideline: Any complaint from a resident or family member is taken seriously. We have a resident grievance/complaint resolution process in place in our communities. The state/s in which we operate also has a formal complaint system in place. The state conducts inspections, and we make state inspection reports available to our consumers for review.

 

FAQ State Partners

(Argentum state partners would need to supply the answer in accordance with state laws and regulations. The questions and topical areas below are listed to better prepare an organization for interactions with the media.)

As always, Argentum is here to help with any questions or concerns. If you want to refer media requests to Argentum, please contact Sharon Cohen at scohen@argentum.org.

 

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