Study Reveals Residents’ Fear in Nursing Homes, Highlighting the Need for SAM Insurance

by | Sep 20, 2023

A recent survey has uncovered a significant concern for residents in nursing homes: the apprehension of facing retaliation from staff members if they voice their concerns or report instances of neglect or abuse.

The study, undertaken by the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a nonprofit that champions the rights of individuals in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, delved into 100 complaints lodged by nursing home residents nationwide.

This week’s report has illuminated ongoing challenges in the U.S. long-term care sector that potentially magnify neglect and subpar facility conditions. These challenges, accentuated by the pandemic, include overburdened and undercompensated staff, experts point out.

Dr. Eilon Caspi, an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention and Policy, spearheaded the research. The data, analyzed from complaints and associated investigations by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services between 2017 and the previous year, is collated in a report titled ” They Make You Pay’: How Fear of Retaliation Silences Residents in America’s Nursing Homes.

He and his research group highlighted that the apprehension of backlash could significantly hinder “reporting, detecting, and investigating abuse and neglect.” The team commented, “While exploratory in nature, this review, we believe, offers the most comprehensive insight into this alarming, yet mostly unnoticed cause of distress for nursing home residents in the U.S.”

David Grabowski, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, noted the prevalent issues related to care quality in U.S. nursing homes. He stated that these fears might contribute to the underreporting and underestimation of cases of neglect and abuse.

Grabowski observed, “There are real fears here that, at the end of the day, there’s going to be retaliation. While most staff members are dedicated and hardworking, when these issues arise, they demand attention.”

Terry Fulmer, an expert in elder abuse and geriatrics, and president of the John A. Hartford Foundation, expressed the imperative of educating staff about the repercussions of retributive behavior. She remarked, “Care in nursing homes, as COVID re-emphasized in shocking detail, is not up to the mark. It’s essential to recognize this issue, educate about its prevention, and empathize with how it impacts families, the elderly, and even the staff.”

One complaint from a resident of a facility in northern California revealed fears of raising concerns, citing repercussions and aggressive behavior from staff members. Several other complaints in the report detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against staff, residents being left in unsanitary conditions, and threats to residents’ families if they chose to report these issues.

Dr. Caspi, in a conversation with USA TODAY, pointed out the dependency of residents on the staff. He emphasized the power disparity, stating, “Residents often feel minimized due to the inherent imbalance of power.”

John Rowe from Columbia University drew attention to the pivotal role of staff conditions in enhancing the quality of care in nursing homes. Reflecting on the complaints, he noted the challenges posed by a “dealing with the toughest patients” amidst a workforce that’s stretched thin.

Rowe remarked, “The American health care system, especially this sector, is grappling with issues stemming from underfunding, understaffing, and insufficient training. These challenges manifest in some instances of elder abuse and neglect by an overwhelmed, underprepared workforce.”

Richard Mollot, the coalition’s executive director, emphasized the importance of understanding how the fear of retaliation amplifies the vulnerability of residents.

The Importance of Liability Mitigation

This report not only underscores the profound issues in the long-term care sector but also starkly highlights the pressing need for Assisted Living Facilities, Skilled Nursing FacilitiesNursing Care Centers and Residential Care Centers to be vigilant and put a program of Liability Mitigation in place. According to Westwood Insurance Group President, Michael Richards, it is important that managers see such a program for its cost saving advantages and not as just another expense. When you calculate your average annual expenditure on litigation payouts and expenses, and look at action that could have been taken to prevent them, it begins to make a lot of sense. Staff training and monitoring is perhaps something that managers should look at more closely.

You can read more about Senior Living Liability Mitigation here.

The report also highlights the need for Sexual Abuse & Molestation (SAM) insurance, further emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the elderly. Senior living facilities must be adequately insured for all possible scenarios they could face.

 

Staff Writers

Writers at Westwood Insurance Group

Articles attributed to staff writers are those written by other staff members, by contractors or guest writers who wish to publish relevant articles on our platform.

Other articles by staff writers

What’s Hot in 2023 – Carrier Appetites for Healthcare

The insurance landscape is ever-evolving, and understanding the latest trends can help commercial agents identify opportunities in the marketplace. When we assessed the appetites of a sampling of our top carriers - certain classes of business in healthcare emerge as...

Increasing Telehealth risks could be good news for Captives

As telehealth continues to reshape the landscape of healthcare delivery following the COVID-19 pandemic, it's been linked to an upswing in medical malpractice claims. This trend is complicating an already challenging insurance market, making it increasingly difficult...

Contact Michael Richards now

Michael Richards, President, Westwood Insurance Group

Michael specializes in insurance for this particular group. You can call him on the number below or fill out the form and he will get your message directly:

insurance for hospitals

Hospital Insurance typically covers all or part of the potential liability for hospital services. It includes medical malpractice, accidents involving hospital employees and equipment, care during surgery or any other invasive treatment, after-hours care arrangements by staff who need help with their children and more.

insurance for long term care facilities

Long term care facilities must protect themselves against potential liability arising from incidents within their facility. Westwood can help you negotiate a package tailored to your long term care facility client.

insurance for physicians

The different types of insurance for physicians includes medical malpractice insurance, professional liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance, an umbrella policy, and professional indemnity. As a physician, you should have access to all of these types of insurance.

traditional insurance products

Westwood have fostered exceptional relationships with underwriters and we go to great lengths to keep abreast of their latest products, changes in requirements and restrictions, including having weekly calls with the carriers, which you can see here, by joining our insurance insider group.

    Insurance products at Westwood Insurance Group

    You can find more information on the Insurance Products main page.

    If you have any questions on the different policies, check out our Insurance FAQ's

    alternative structures

    Westwood President, Michael Richards has extensive experience in setting up alternative structures for larger clients. Here are some examples:

    If you think your client could be large and stable enough to benefit from starting or participating in a captive or has a special need for another alternative structure, contact Michael Richards now by phone: 855 351 7487.