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Advocates Call for Substantial Funding Increases for Elder Care Reform

Elder Voice Family Advocates Report Reveals Inhumane and Deadly Neglect in Assisted Living Residences



Minneapolis, MN – April 9, 2019 – Elder Voice Family Advocates (Elder Voice) report on state

investigations of neglect, abuse and exploitation reveals shocking deaths and suffering in many Minnesota assisted living and housing with services facilities.

Elder Voice Family Advocates, AARP Minnesota and Legal Aid call for strong new laws to protect older and vulnerable adults and substantial funding increases to license assisted living residences to provide quality elder and vulnerable adult care and safety. The current laws are weak and the $5 million budget for elder care by the Minnesota Senate is grossly insufficient and significantly lags behind the proposed budget of $31 – 33 million from the Minnesota Governor and House of Representatives.

“It is absolutely stunning that too many of our state assisted living residences are giving such deplorable care for our elders and vulnerable adults,” states Kristine Sundberg, president of Elder Voice Family Advocates. “Minnesota legislators need to take dramatic action now, not next year or the year after. Our state is the only state that doesn’t license assisted living and we are significantly behind most other states in providing basic protections from arbitrary discharge, retaliation, appeal rights and much more.”

Elder Voice examined investigation reports for Minnesota Department of Health’s, Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) from August 2011 through November 13, 2018. Only substantiated investigations were reviewed, although the unsubstantiated and inconclusive categories are important and deserve future examination.

“We appreciate Representative Jennifer Schultz, Senator Karin Housley, Senator Scott Dibble, and many other legislators for their leadership in pursuing legislation to end this epidemic of neglect, abuse and exploitation,” states Jean Peters, RN, CNP and vice president of Elder Voice Family Advocates. “But substantial increases in funding for the licensing and other protections must also accompany the legislative reforms or we simply have another unfunded mandate that won’t help our elders and vulnerable adults.”

The Elder Voice review of a sample of 128 OHFC substantiated neglect reports showed that assisted living and housing with services facilities were responsible for 79% of the neglect. The OHFC determined that only 12% were of the neglect was the responsibility of individual(s). The remaining 9% were found to be the responsibility of both facility provider and individual(s).

Examples of the Gross Neglect Resulting in Death and Suffering. The following are disturbing examples taken from the investigation reports for several assisted living residences:

  • Staff ignored a resident for 3 ½ hours after falling. A staff member walked past the resident on the floor without acknowledgement, watched TV, read a magazine and left the area several tim