Report Finds Health Workers Aren't Alerting Police of Likely Elder Abuse

According to recent research published by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, many cases of abuse or neglect of elderly patients, which are severe enough to require medical attention, are not being reported to law enforcement by nursing home staff or health workers even though it is required by law. One study focused solely on the abuse of nursing home residents who ended up in emergency rooms. This study looked at claims sent to Medicare in 2016 for treatment of head injuries, body bruises, bedsores and other incidents that may indicate physical or sexual abuse, as well as neglect.

A deputy inspector general for audit services stated her team found that nursing homes failed to report nearly 1 in 5 of these potential cases to the state inspection agencies. The inspector stated further that in many cases, after a resident is treated in the emergency room, they are sent back to the same facility where the potential abuse or neglect may have happened.

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