National Nursing Home Week 2013: Team Care

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) is leading the effort this year as part of the official “National Nursing Home Week” which was designated as May 12th through the 18th. More information on the event can be found here.

The purpose of the Week is to raise awareness of various needs of the long-term care community. In addition, it is used by many local facilities to better connect senior residents with their neighbors. Unfortunately, there remains somewhat of a barrier between nursing home residents and others–the seniors in these facilities are often viewed as “others.” Instead, many elder care advocates urge a more holistic outlook, where the skills of seniors are valued and they are viewed as an integral part of any neighborhood.

The official theme of these year’s National Nursing Home Week is “Team Care.” According to the AHCA this theme, “recognizes residents and patients in long term and post-acute care settings, the dedicated staff who care for them, and the value of care planning where everyone ‘pitches in’ for optimal outcomes.”

It is encouraging that “care planning” is incorporated into this year’s effort. This planning takes many forms, beginning with efforts to prepare for possible long-term care long before the actual care is needed. As elder law attorneys, we have seen many seniors who are forced to chose between two unwanted options when illness or injury befalls them and they do not have plans in place to provide ideal are.

Lack of Planning & Mistreatment
Unfortunately, there is often a connection to a lack of planning and receiving less than quality services. Of course abuse and neglect can occur anywhere, and so all seniors and their families need to be vigilant about standards anytime that one is receiving aid at a nursing home, assisted living facility, or at-home services.

For example, an elder abuse forum was recently held in Saratoga Springs where advocates from the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention discussed how elder abuse remains overlooked far more often than it is caught. The advocate explained how elder abuse is much more than broken bones or pressure sores. Instead, a wide range of physical, financial, and emotional damage can strike seniors with their caregivers do not provide proper treatment.

In honor of National Nursing Home Week, hopefully all New Yorkers take an extra moment to check on the seniors in their lives to ensure they are receiving the basic aid they need to thrive in their golden years.

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