For years, nursing homes have become an important service in the lives of millions of American families. With the help of skilled nursing facilities, these families have been able to access the medical care and daily help their aging or disabled loved ones need at affordable costs. Moreover, the rise of assisted living homes has allowed these patients the ability to retain some level of independence while still receiving the care they need, reducing one of the most difficult parts of transitioning to these centers. However, many advocates, families and lawmakers have long been concerned about the regulations at these nursing care homes. Now, Massachusetts regulators have passed several new rules to ensure that patients will be safe at assisted living facilities and other center that provide convalescent care.
Around 14,000 people in Massachusetts live in a total of 225 assisted living homes in the state. While these centers are primarily aimed at caring for patients that can maintain some level of independence, many people remain in these centers as they age because they have grown accustomed to the lifestyle or are concerned about the cost of a skilled nursing facility. To ensure the safety of these residents, the regulators seriously considered prohibiting any assisted living community from admitting or retaining patients who require more than 90 consecutive days of skilled nursing care. Elder care advocates and assisted living homes immediately began criticizing this rule, which they say would have forced them to evict thousands of people from the places they now call home. As a result, the issue was dropped. However, regulators successfully passed stricter requirements for additional education and training, especially when it comes to managing and calming aggressive behavior from patients with dementia and other problems. The regulators also instituted standards for detailed evacuation plans, which now include requirements for equipment and medication in the event of inclement weather or other problems.
Nursing care experts say that they are happy with the new rules, which will hopefully reduce a number of problems associated with a lack of training and information. However, advocates are continuing to push for a variety of other changes, including minimum staffing requirements and improved care for patients with Alzheimer’s. In this way, the state, assisted living homes and advocates are working together to improve conditions for the elderly and disabled. Learn more at this link.