News / Press

Senate Finance Committee Hearing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Senate Finance Committee Hearing Held on Nursing Homes Abuse and Neglect

Not Forgotten:  Protecting Americans From Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes

By Chrystal Griggs, Regional Ombudsman for Central Texas Council of Governments

On March 6, 2019, the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Grassley, held a hearing entitled, “Not Forgotten: Protecting Americans From Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes.” After opening statements from Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Senator Ron Wyden, the daughters of two nursing home residents gave heartbreaking and distressing testimony about each of their mother’s experiences – one with neglect, the other with abuse. Following their statements, five additional witnesses provided testimony:  Dr. David Gifford, American Health Care Association; Dr. David Grabowksi, Harvard Medical School; Dr. Kate Goodrich, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Antoinette Bacon, Department of Justice; and Keesha Mitchell, Office of the Ohio Attorney General.

Numerous issues were raised during the hearing, among them, Nursing Home Compare and the Five-Star Rating System, the closing of rural nursing homes, Medicaid reimbursement rates, regulations and enforcement, and staffing. Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Robyn Grant attended the hearing. She expressed concern that there was no consumer advocate on the panel who could have testified to the resident experience nationwide and provided the consumer perspective on care, abuse, and neglect. Grant also voiced disappointment that although the title of the hearing indicated the topic would be abuse and neglect, there was not a focused discussion and examination of ways to prevent and end nursing home abuse and neglect.

View a recording of the hearing on the Senate Finance Committee’s Facebook page.

TDT article Alzheimers Caregiver Workshop

Alzheimer’s Caregiving Workshop in the News

TDT article Alzheimers Caregiver Workshop
Read the complete article at http://www.tdtnews.com.

Caregiving Tips for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Thanks again to Delia Jervier from the Capital of Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for visiting AAACT at Central Texas Council of Governments this past week. Jervier shared great insight on caregiving for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. One point she discussed was that as loved ones digress, there is a tendency to revert to their native language, making communication with facility staff difficult. One example she gave was a Korean woman in Austin who had reverted to her native language and diet, making it impossible to find a care center for her.

Jervier also mentioned that although training is necessary for caregiving, it requires more hours of training to learn how to groom pets that it does to learn how to work with dementia patients.

“People who care for people with dementia don’t get an adequate amount of training for the type care needed by individuals with Alzheimer’s,” Jervier said.

Jervier also stressed that early diagnosis will help the individual with the disease to become more involved in the decision-making process. The 10 early signs of Alzheimer’s she shared include:

  1. Difficulty remembering things that just happened
  2. Inability to plan or solve problems
  3. Losing track of dates, seasons, and time
  4. Misplacing things
  5. Mood and personality changes
  6. Poor decision-making
  7. Struggling with conversations
  8. Trouble completing familiar tasks
  9. Vision problems
  10. Withdrawal from social or work activities

Thank you to Temple Daily Telegram for covering this workshop. To read the complete article, visit tdtnews.com.

matter of balance class

A Matter of Balance Class Receives Excellent Reviews

Conquer your fear of falling with our free 8-week class held on Fridays starting April 26 at 1-3 p.m. This class teaches you to understand your fears and stay active with easy exercises. We’ll also cover how to make safety improvements at your home, communicate with your healthcare team and family, change “fall-ty” habits, and more.

Class Reviews from A Matter of Balance

We conducted a survey at our last class and received all excellent reviews. These are just a few comments participants made about the Matter of Balance class:

“This is a very valuable class. Excellent information. Very good method of applying information to daily life. Thank you, this was great!!!”

“Thankful these programs are available to seniors.”

“Thank you very much for your dedication and diligence. We have greatly benefitted from the A Matter of Balance classes!

We hope you’ll join us at our next class to learn how to manage your fears and find confidence in managing your health. The class is open to the public and will be held at the Salado Public Library located at 1151 North Main Street in Salado, Texas. For any questions or to register, please contact Susan Burchfield at wellnesseducation@ctcog.org or call 254-770-2330.

AARP HomeFit Guide

Home Fit Modifications Guide

Reduce Fall Risks for Seniors with Home Modifications

From DailyCaring.com

Hazards in the home can add up over time, increasing the risk for falls–a top reason why seniors loss independence and mobility. Check out a room-by-room modification guide from AARP that takes you through the entire house explaining specific changes that are necessary to keep seniors safe. Some highlights include:

  • Good lighting, essential for seniors because aging eyes need much more light than younger ones
  • Visual shopping guide with pictures of recommended home safety modification items
  • Keeping things within reach, making it easier for those who are frail or weak
  • Evaluating outdoor hazards as well as indoor ones
  • Simple to-do lists that separate the tasks you can do yourself from those that may require a handyman or contractor
  • Other helpful online resources to learn about home modifications for older adults

Download the entire HomeFit Guide from AARP below:

AARP HomeFit Guide
Smart solutions for making your home comfortable, safe and a great fit

 

Empower Care Act

Empower Care Act Introduced in Senate

Money Follows the Person Legislation Introduced

Shared from an article published by National Consumer Voice

Great news!  Two bills have been introduced to extend the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program for five years!   Called the Empower Care Act, a Senate bill (S. 548) by Senators Portman and Cantwell, and a House Bill (H.R. 1342) by Congresspersons Guthrie and Dingell, would continue and improve the program through 2023.  Improvements include reducing how long someone must be in a nursing home before becoming eligible to transition from 90 days to 60.

The five-year extension is critically important.  Congress passed $112 million in funding for the program in January 2019 (H.R. 259), but this money ends in September and could even run out sooner.

As we have previously noted, MFP benefits both long-term care consumers and states. MFP helps individuals with disabilities and seniors who want to move out of nursing homes or other institutions and back into their communities, where they can live independently and experience an improved quality of life. At the same time, it helps states improve access to home and community-based long-term services and supports and save money.

It’s exciting to see these bills so early in the session.  Stay tuned for more updates and information about advocacy action.

Walk With A Doc Donation Check

Walk With a Doc: Caregiving for Patients with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Caregiving for Family Members with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Reported By Kerry Fillip, Director of the Area Agency on Aging of Central Texas

Walk With a Doc Crowd

Dr. Alan Stevens from the Center for Applied Health Research at Baylor Scott & White joined community members on February 16 at the Walk With a Doc event, a free monthly event where health providers speak on their area of expertise. Dr. Stevens shared his thoughts on the trends for caregiving for family members who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia diseases.

Recent studies show that the burden of providing care for dementia patients is more intense than for patients with other diseases. This caregiving goes beyond the physical…and it is much more intense.

Walk With a Doc Back

Trends in Caregiving

Caregivers are having to learn a whole host of new skills in order to keep their loved ones with dementia at home. The traditional family dynamic has also changed. It used to be that daughters carried the burden for caregiving. Now, those daughters are in the workforce while siblings have moved across the country. Parents are living longer, and families are much more culturally diverse than ever before.

Add to this mix the fact that the number of patients needing care is about to vastly outnumber the pool of available caregivers. Baby Boomers will be aging at an exponential rate, and they have had far fewer children than in previous generations.

Day-to-Day Stress of Caregiving

Current studies of caregiving focus on the day-to-day burden of caregiving. These studies note that there is a higher rate of depression, a lower quality-of-life, and a lower rate of personal health among caregivers. And yet, the caregiver is the KEY factor in the ability to keep the loved one at home.

So, what do we do? If the caregiver is the KEY component to keeping the loved one at home and that caregiver is depressed with low quality of life and often ill themselves—while being unable or disbelieving that they have the right to take care of themselves—what will happen to both patient and caregiver? The idea is that healthcare and social agencies need to promote “family-centered” care—taking care of the entire family who has the dementia patient and the caregiver at the center.

Family-Centered CareWalk With a Doc Dogs

Why should healthcare be concerned about “family-centered” care? Because Americans are spending about $232 billion dollars annually on family health care. Yes, that’s BILLIONS…with a “B.”

While there is some good information, it is not readily available to the average person. Research groups are trying to produce much-needed materials, but funding is still an issue. The current expectation is that caregiving is “something that families just do.” We need to do a better job of coordinating across providers.

One such example of that is the upcoming Dementia Care Study that Baylor Scott & White is conducting in conjunction with UCLA and the Benjamin Rose Institute.  The Area Agency on Aging of Central Texas is also assisting in this study.

Dr. Alan StevensFor more information, or to participate in the dementia care study, please contact:

Dr. Alan Stevens,

Center for Applied Health Research

2401 S. 31st St.|MS-01-501| Temple, TX 76508

254-724-0989 Office