Federal Report Finds Increase in Elder Abuse Cases

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A new report by the Government Accountability Office has found a spike in the number of elder abuse cases reported from California and around the country.  The Government Accountability Office report also expresses concern over the fact that adult protective services funding around the country has stayed stagnant.

Jerry Brown, the director of education, workforce and income security at the accountability office testified at a special hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, that state agencies around the country were seeing an increase in the number of elder abuse cases that were reported.  What is even more concerning to California elder abuse lawyers, is that there has been an increase in the number of complex elder abuse cases involving multiple forms of abuse that have come to light.

Another point of concern is that funding for adult protective services has not kept pace with this increase in elder abuse.  According to the Government Accountability Office, this spike in elder abuse cases will overwhelm state adult protective services agencies unless action is taken to increase funding for these bodies.

Some of the challenges facing elder abuse attorneys in California and federal authorities in charge of elder care, is that reduced funding for adult protective services in many states has meant the hiring of unqualified inspectors.  Out of the 39 responding states in the survey, most have reported that funding for adult protective services in their state has either remained the same or declined over the last five years.

That has severely affected the quality of staff training, as well as the number of inspectors qualified to conduct inspections of nursing care facilities.  What we need is a centralized system for tracking elders as they move from home care to institutionalized care and vice versa, to help monitor abuse, and prevent these incidences.  However, different states have different definitions of what constitutes abuse, and this makes establishing a single central network, difficult.

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