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Proposal aims to shield residents from Massachusetts nursing home neglect and abuse

A Boston resident is behind the proposed Act to Protect Nursing Home Residents, which aims to safeguard elderly residents from Massachusetts nursing home neglect and abuse.

Dr. Rachel Geller wrote the act three years ago after a bad experienced with her aunt, who suffered from Alzheimer’s and was shuttled between five nursing homes over a seven year period, according to the Newburyport News. Her aunt spent several weeks in a hospital’s locked psychiatric ward after being kicked out of a nursing home. At one point, the elderly woman was reportedly released with no place to go.

Geller has teamed with state Rep. Ruth Balser, D-Newton, in backing a law that will better inform patients and family members about nursing home regulations.

“The existing problem is there are already very good laws on the books, yet nursing homes routinely lie, break the laws, follow illegal procedures and omit information,” Geller said. “Because we as ‘consumers’ of nursing homes are unfamiliar with the nursing home regulations, we are automatically inclined to believe everything told to us by a nursing home.”

She said better informed families and patients will force homes to obey the law.

“Nursing homes follow standard operating procedures that violate the laws. How can it be that so many nursing homes have been allowed to develop procedures that violate the regulations which govern them?” Geller said. “I’m very pleased nursing homes will be required to give families a copy of the law in clear and understandable layperson’s terms to enable us to better advocate for our loved ones in nursing homes.”

While the bill still has a ways to go before becoming law, it was moved out of the Joint Committee on Health Care Finance last week, a critical step to making it to the floor for a vote.

If you suspect and elderly resident is being victimized by neglect or abuse in a Massachusetts nursing home, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333