American Bar supports funding of nursing home neglect bill

Early this year, the White House sent a request to Congress to approve $25 million in funding for the Elder Justice Act. The Elder Justice Act became law in 2010, and it is intended to help protect the aging population in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country from becoming victims of nursing home neglect and other forms of elder abuse. However, since its passing, the bill has not received adequate funding to be effective.

The American Bar Association is currently advocating for the bill to be financed. At this time, according to the president of the American Bar Association, we do not know as much about elder abuse prevention and detection as we do about child abuse and spousal abuse. According to the professional group, if the bill is completely funded, it will pave the way for new research and the collection of data related to elder abuse. With this research, systems can be developed for detecting the abuse and preventing it from occurring.

According to 2010 statistics, roughly 5 million individuals suffer from instances of elder abuse every year. Further, this abuse causes roughly $5 billion in medical expenses. Also, victims of elder abuse have three times the chance of needing to go to the hospital and four times the chance of needing to go to a nursing home than other segments of the elderly population.

Nursing home neglect can rear its ugly head when a Pennsylvania resident least expects it. Whether the person who is harmed by that neglect is a family friend, a parent or a sibling, the victims of nursing home neglect will have recourse under the law to seek restitution for their injuries. Restitution may include money for medical care, pain and suffering, legal fees associated with the litigation of one's case and other types of damages.

Source: centralmaine.com, "Congress should fund Elder Abuse Act", James R. Silkenat, July 23, 2014

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