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Elderly Patients In Long-Term Care Are Entitled to High Quality Care

Ensuring that dependent older adults with complex health problems receive high quality long-term care has been a long-standing challenge for the health care systems around the world.  Currently, the need is greater than ever, considering that older adults battling with a multiple of chronic diseases and functional and/or cognitive disabilities are becoming more prevalent as the elderly population worldwide continues to expand.  Nursing home facilities provide 24-hour intensive care for individuals who are commonly physically or cognitively disabled, or both.  The delivery of quality of care and maintenance of quality of life in nursing homes are often unsuccessful, however, and has long been a great concern to consumers, providers of care, and policy makers.  The evidence that nursing home residents frequently suffer from preventable adverse outcomes (such as negative drug events, bed sores, falls resulting in serious injury, physical and pharmaceutical restraint use, delirium, and elder abuse) continues to grow and increase the risk of morbidity and mortality.

The push to innovate care models in order to enhance the quality of care in nursing homes has come from the World Health Organization, the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, and the Institute of Medicine in the United States.  Residential care models must be renovated to make them “fit for the future” (e.g., to change nursing home facilities to become more “homelike”) and provide care-dependent individuals the ability to continue living a self-determined lifestyle.

The term “model of care” is a broad and multifaceted concept that constitutes the way health services are given, defining the delivery of best practice care through the implementation of a group of service principles based upon identified clinical processes.  Examples of residential care models in the United States are the Green House and Eden Alternative, which are made to exude a home environment that promotes the feeling of control, dignity, and overall well-being to the care-dependent patient, while ensuring high-quality, individualized care.  In recent years, greater emphasis has been given to create more Green House homes.  Currently, there are over 260 homes across 32 states that are open or in the process of development.  In European countries, the interest in providing residential care for elderly patients with dementia in small-scale living environments is growing.

A recent study examined the effect these modern care models had on residents and their quality of life.  The study found that elderly residents with dementia who resided in dementia-specific small-scale houses appeared to benefit in terms of physical functioning, Moreover, residents living in nondementia-specific small-scale living arrangements reported being more satisfied with the care they received compared to residents living in traditional nursing homes.

It is crucial that no matter what kind of nursing home or other long-term care facility an older adult patient resides in, they must be given high quality care at all times.  These elderly patients are vulnerable and often frail.  Nursing and general care staff are responsible for ensuring that these residents are getting their needs met and their quality of life is maintained.  If you or someone you love is a victim of elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility, such as one in Eagle Rock or El Segundo, California, contact The Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi.  Mr. Yeroushalmi and his associates are experts in elder law and passionate about defending victims of elder abuse.