Who is Responsible for Protecting the Older Population?

Benchmark Assignment – Administration and Protection

In your local newspaper, an article was written about the crimes and harms perpetrated against the older population and the lack of protection for many of them. The article ends with the question, “Who is responsible for protecting these individuals?”

Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word letter to the editor answering that question from the perspective of one working in the long-term care field. In your letter, address the following:

  • Analyze the responsibilities of individuals for protecting the rights of older adults. Consider the following:
    • When should families be responsible for related older adults? When should they not? Does this only pertain to immediate family members?
    • When should friends or acquaintances be responsible? What if their choices go against the family’s wishes?
    • When should hospitals, community service organizations, or other long-term care facilities be allowed to make major decisions for older adults?
    • When should the government be responsible for making important decisions? How involved should the government be in protecting the individual?
    • Is there ever a circumstance when an older adult does not need outside protection? When would that be
    • Explain your answers.
  • Compare differences of private, non-profit, and public entities. Consider the following:
    • Legal issues
    • Services
    • Certification
    • Accreditation
    • Auditing
    • How administrators and facilities play a role in the protection of older adults
  • Analyze the prevalence of abuse against the aging population. Include:
    • A description of the types of abuses
    • Statistics to support your claims
    • Evaluate the effects of fraud on the aging population and the long-term care system.
    • Consider the financial implications on individuals, organizations, and the health care system.
  • Analyze Elder Law Services.
    • How can these services help protect the rights of older adults?
  • Determine the role of advocacy in protecting the rights of older adults. Consider the following:
    • What advocacy services are available for older adults? Does everyone have the same access to these services? Explain why or why not.
    • How effective are advocacy services at protecting the rights of older adults?

Sample Solution – Who is Responsible for Protecting the Older Population?

Dear Editor

Ageing is a normal process that presents distinctive challenges in the life of elderly people aged from 65 years and above. As people grow old, they become vulnerable to a number of health conditions that include mental illness, physical disabilities, chronic illnesses, as well as other co-morbidities. This happens when this population has no financial ability to cater for their health needs which get more expensive or frequent as time passes. The poor physical and mental health makes it hard for them to run their normal life without assistance. Although the changing health needs demand that they may check on their nutrition and general health, they lack the general ability to do so. They therefore depend greatly on others to survive. Those responsible are required play their role in ensuring that elderly people are well catered for (Shrivastava, Shrivastava& Ramasamy, 2013).

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The responsibility of taking care of older adults should lie on their family members, especially if they are living with them. They should ensure that they feed well, and get the support they need while walking around, toileting and doing other small personal tasks. The magnitude of care should depend on individual general health.  In case the family members do not live close by, they need to get a care giver to take care of their elderly adults. They need to ensure that the elderly person has all they need at their disposal and make required payments to ensure that home care giver is always there to assist the older adult when needed. They may also decide to take the elderly person to a residential home, based on their level of needs and their ability to meet them based on different factors. Expert opinion may be needed to make the right decision on the kind of care they should give to their older adult. This should be determined by the level of needs and dependency, the living environment, and the availability of community and social network that assist them with some of their needs. Family should however take care of all possible costs related with payment of care giver or residential home. They also have a duty of visiting the older adults more often if placed in a residential home. Financing and visiting can be done by all family members however, direct care is normally done by close family members.

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A friend or an acquaintance can assist in serious instances especially when the elderly person is alone and experiencing sudden health conditions. In most cases, those close to them need to take charge as they try to assist them. They may decide to rush to the neigh by hospital, or if they have more information on their treatment, they may rush them to their respective hospitals. They may also offer assistance in house chores and ensure that they feed well and that they are comfortable. Some may stay with them for days based on the relationship, or they may consider informing the relatives on the situation at hand and leave as soon as there is someone to take charge. Friends assist to their best way possible by doing what they deem good. They may consider asking for relatives’ direction when critical decisions need to be made, however, if this is not possible they make those decisions themselves despite of whether they will go against the relative wishes.

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Normally, hospitals are approached by the families, friends or older adults themselves for care. While there, the medical expert will do their assessment and provide necessary advice to the family or those accompanying the elderly person. They may consider taking the advice or an alternative opinion. Hospital should always consult relatives before making critical decision regarding an elderly patient. Community organization only take charge when they realized that the elderly adult is a lone and with need of assistance.  It normally focuses on abandoned individual, who need to be assisted to survive. An elderly person may also join the community on their own, for other social and psychological benefits. Similar to hospitals, long-care facility must be approached to be offers their services (Shrivastava, Shrivastava  & Ramasamy, 2013). Once admitted, the facility makes decision on the care one should get based on personal needs. No much consultation is done in this case, though family may be involved in care provision to some extent.

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The government should be involved in protecting older adults from abuse of any kind taking place either at home or in residential homes. The government has already established law that protects elderly abuse. One only needs to report an abuse in the law enforcement agency and an action is taken. The government also has a duty to make policies that enhance the life quality of the elderly people. These laws and policies enhance their security and general wellbeing including their health for instance Medicaid.

Elderly people mostly need assistance for one reason or another. However, they may sometime survive with family exclusive care; especially, if they do not have health issues that may force them seek medical assistance. Some may also survive on their own, if they had enough savings for retirements and they do not have any health issue. However, it is extremely hard for them to live without family or community support.

There is a great difference among the non-profit, public and private entities. This can be as shown below (Horwitz, 2005):

Description Private Non-profit Public Entities
Legal Issues More abuse cases Less or rarely no legal issues No or less issues.
Services Average services mostly with multidisciplinary professional who can perform more than one task at a time Standard services with various qualified volunteers Standard services with qualified personnel
Certification Certified Certified Highly certified
Accreditation Still trying to meet some standards to be accredited Accredited Accredited
Auditing Lack standard internal auditing Have mostly outsources internal and external auditors Has both internal and external auditor

Administrators play a great role in developing policies and operation procedures that focus on protecting the rights of older adults as well as fulfilling their requirements. The facilities are also developed to ensure that elderly people get the care they need or that they are able to reach out to what they need. The facilities are structured to increase visibilities, reduce falls, and to facilitate communication using bells or other means when need be. The administrators ensure that the facility has enough workers and caregivers whose main role is to cater for the elderly needs. This ensures that the elderly people are well takes care of. It also reduces their vulnerability to different dangers.

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Elderly people experience different forms of abuse. They may include neglect, financial, physical, and emotional abuse. Financial abuse is improper or illegal use of the finances or property of an elderly person. Psychological abuse refers to mental stress infliction that entails threats and actions that cause fear of violence, isolation, powerlessness, feelings of shame and deprivation. Neglect refers to the caregiver’s failure to offer the required life necessities to an elderly person. Physical abuse entails infliction of physical injury or pain as well as physical coercion. It can also include sexual abuse which refers to different sexual advances without the consent of the victim, or where consent has been forced via coercion (Elder abuse Ontario, 2017). According to statistics, about 1 in every 10 elderly individuals in Americans has experienced one or more kind of abuse. It is approximated that 5 million elderly people do experience abuse every year. However, the cases reported to the relevant authority are considerably lower than those that occur. The highest form of mistreatment is verbal, followed by financial and then physical (NCOA, 2017).

Fraud cases have been reported in most of nursing home in almost all the times when the administrators, physician, or nurses are making government billing for medical procedures given to the elderly people. In most cases these individuals end up billing for procedures that do not warrant for Medicaid and Medicare provision. These fraud cases are depriving the government of tax payers’ money, and when noticed, these facilities are denied legitimacy to these funds. Consequently, a number of elderly people are being left without enough facilities, or with facilities which they may need private insurance or personal financial intervention. This is considerable strenuous to elderly people, an aspect that have made some to be left without care.  The act of fraud put the facility under investigation, making to lose some important employees who play a great role in facilitating efficiency.This leaves these facilities with less manpower making it hard to satisfy the full time care need to the residents (Haberman, 2016).

Elderly law services offer civil lawful services to elderly people, with intention of protecting their interest which include their properties, health, and safeguarding them from abuse. Their attorneys assist elderly people in various legal issues that include retirement, guardianship, Medicaid, social security, and health care among others. They also assist them in life planning and living. There are also elderly people advocacy who focus on protect elderly people from any form of exploitation including financial exploitation. They also protect them from abuse, neglect and pushing for policies that cater for the basic needs of the elderly individuals (Findlaw, 2017). There are a number of advocacy programs in the US catering for different needs of elderly people. Most of these programs are founded on the law, and hence they are well protected and their efficiency is highly enhanced. However, not all elderly people get these services. Most of the services or programs need individual registration, meaning that the person must be aware of them. Lack of awareness on the existence of such advocacy programs makes it hard for some elderly people who are in great need of assistance to miss it.

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