The largest news source in Minnesota, the Star Tribune, recently released a 5 part series on Senior Residential Facilities titled, Left to Suffer.   The Series documents the significant increase in elder abuse allegations in Minnesota over the past 5 years, many of which are never investigated. While this is focused on Minnesota, we, at Bluestone, unfortunately, know it is more pervasive. The lack of oversight and regulation in assisted living facilities is highlighted as one of the contributing factors.  

Highlights from the Report:

Rising Maltreatment: The special report highlighted the rising number of maltreatment complaints in the rapidly growing assisted living field, which may bring into question whether senior living regulations are adequate and whether providers should be held more accountable for maltreatment.

Regulatory Environment: The references to the “lax, lightly regulated environment in which assisted living operates” may bring into question whether there are appropriate and adequate regulations to keep consumers safe.

Rising Acuity: The references to rising level of acuity in senior living residents cited that “over the past 20 years, many assisted living facilities have come to resemble nursing homes, taking on more patients with dementia and severe conditions.” This may bring into question whether regulations that apply to nursing homes would also apply to assisted living.

Bluestone providers are mandatory reporters for vulnerable adults.

  • If a Bluestone provider suspects abuse, neglect, or exploitation is occurring with any of their patients, they will file a report with the appropriate state agency.  Depending on the circumstances Bluestone providers will also notify a patient’s family member as well as the nursing staff and administrators of the assisted living building where the patient resides.

Bluestone has close relationships with family members and ALF building staff.

  • As the largest healthcare provider to people in assisted livings, Bluestone prides itself on the relationships we develop with family members, caregivers, and building staff at the assisted living buildings.  If family members, caregivers, or assisted living staff members suspect one of our patients is being abused we strongly encourage utilizing our secure instant messaging platform to notify the patient’s provider.

Abuse is unacceptable.

  • Bluestone is troubled by the increase in maltreatment complaints, and we grieve with the older adults and families who are the victims of these isolated incidents of horrifying and tragic abuse.
  • If a Bluestone provider suspects abuse, neglect, or exploitation, we are trained and required to submit a Vulnerable Adult report to the MN Department of Human Services.  We are deeply concerned to learn from this report that many reported allegations are never investigated.  
  • Bluestone has recognized this as an opportunity to provide more robust training to our providers on ways to identify whether or not a patient is experiencing abuse or neglect.  As noted in the report many of the abusive situations occur between residents in the buildings.  Unfortunately, the lack of investigations into abuse allegations is outside of Bluestone’s control, however, Bluestone maintains great relationships with family members and the staff at assisted living situations and utilizes these relationships to bring attention or awareness to situations where abuse is suspected.