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Unregulated Elder Care Referral Service Industry Sparks Concern

It is always difficult when an elderly loved one is no longer able to care for him or herself. Often family members do not have the training, finances or ability to provide adequate care on a long term or permanent basis. Under such circumstances, family members must make arrangements for the daily care of their loved one and placement in a care facility (in many cases a nursing home) must be made quickly. It can be an overwhelming and stressful time to try and make these types of arraignments and find the right type of facility for a family member. This is a very common situation that has created a demand for elder care referral services.

What are Elderly Care Referral Services?

In theory, an elderly referral service is a business that does the research and background work for families to help find the placement in a care facility that most meets the needs of the loved one. Some referral services do just that, however, many of these types of businesses fail to find adequate and safe placement for elderly residents. How can this happen? Unfortunately, the elderly care referral industry is not regulated by the government. This means that many businesses are focused on making a profit instead of helping your loved one. An investigative report by the Seattle Times revealed this dangerous and in some cases deadly business practice.

As part of their "free referral services," agencies make their money by accepting finders or placement fees from care facilities. Care facilities can range from nursing homes to private homes licensed with the state. Referral services are often paid a full month's rent to place an individual in a particular care facility, this can amount to several thousands of dollars for a single placement.

Unregulated Elderly Care Referral Services Risky to Residents

The problem arises when a referral services places an elderly individual without researching the facilities' safety ratings, touring the potential care facilities or meeting with the family to discuss the care their loved one requires. The Seattle Times report discovered that this practice has led to individuals placed in facilities with substandard care and instances of neglect and abuse (which in some cases proved fatal). This has lead to harmful consequences for newly placed residents. Without government standards and regulation of referral services, they are able to continue to make dangerous placements for high fees. In response to the revealing Times report, Washington State has passed a bill that would impose certain standards on elderly referral services to help improve the rate of safe placements. It is expected that additional states will soon follow Washington's lead.

If your loved one has been placed in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, it is important to ensure that they are receiving adequate care and are free from abuse or neglect. If you suspect your family member is suffering injury as a nursing home resident, speak to an attorney knowledgeable in elder abuse matters to protect your loved ones rights and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

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Anderson Law Offices, LLC 17138 Lorain Avenue, Suite 211 | Cleveland, OH 44111
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