Minnesota Nursing Home Lawyer

Minnesota Has a New Vulnerable Adult Justice Project

Minnesota Has a New Vulnerable Adult Justice Project
January 2nd, 2009 | Ken LaBore

Letter: Justice for older and vulnerable adults can’t wait
From The Republican Eagle
Published Thursday, January 01, 2009

In the past few weeks, allegations of nursing home residents’ abuse have surfaced in two Minnesota communities. As a result, some families and seniors have begun to question their trust in nursing home care.

The allegations as described in the complaints are appalling, yet they serve as a reminder about the responsibility we all must take in caring for our spouses, parents and grandparents.

Let’s be clear: even one incident of elder abuse in any setting is one incident too many.

But we also need to put the allegations in Albert Lea and Montevideo into a larger context. There are approximately 400 care centers in Minnesota, serving nearly 34,000 seniors a day. The vast majority of caregivers in these settings, as well as in home and community-based settings, provide excellent care; they do so out of a sense of mission and passion, not money.

As leaders of organizations that serve older and vulnerable adults, we are united and have combined efforts in support of larger reform for the prevention of elder abuse.

We have launched the Vulnerable Adult Justice Project. While our individual organizations often have different perspectives and may occasionally disagree on public policy, we have no disagreement when it comes to abuse. We share a common goal of increasing awareness of this issue and have strengthened our commitment to preventing elder abuse.

While there is much to be done under this broad umbrella, we have identified some key priorities for the coming months.

First, it is essential that the Legislature pass the Older and Vulnerable Adult Act reform bill.

For the past 15 months our organizations have worked through a vulnerable adult stakeholder group to craft the reforms contained in this legislation. The recent allegations highlight the need for the Legislature to act. This legislation will streamline the Vulnerable Adult Act reporting system, assure first responders have the tools to serve a growing and changing population and help to better protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation.

In addition, as the Legislature considers funding priorities in this fiscal crisis, it will be critically important to assure that adequate resources are directed to law enforcement and state agencies that assure incidents of abuse do not occur.

Second, these allegations highlight the need to improve training provided to paid caregivers on dementia care and on prevention and reporting procedures. In concert with this priority, we will continue to work with providers as they strive to report any suspected incidents of abuse.

Third, we will reach out to families, clergy, law enforcement, prosecutors and other key community members to raise awareness of the signs of elder abuse and how it should be reported and investigated.

Compassion requires us to protect the aging and vulnerable. While the Vulnerable Adult Justice Project has a diverse membership, we share one common goal: to protect those who cannot protect themselves. We urge others to join us in our campaign to end elder abuse at all levels and settings.

Deb Holtz, Minnesota Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care

Michele Kimball, AARP Minnesota

Gayle Kvenvold, Aging Services of Minnesota

Mary Birchard, Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota and North Dakota

Patti Cullen, Care Providers of Minnesota

Mark Wandersee, ElderCare Rights Alliance

A. Kimberley Dayton, Elder Justice & Policy Center, William Mitchell College of Law

Neil Johnson, Minnesota HomeCare Association

For more information regarding the Vulnerable Adult Justice Project, please contact Mark Wandersee at: mwandersee@eldercarerights.org
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This website is not intended to provide legal advice as each situation is different and specific factual information must be obtained before an attorney is able to assess the legal questions relevant to your situation.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility that serves the elderly in Minnesota , please contact our firm for a free consultation and information regarding the obligations of the facility and your rights as a resident or concerned family member. To contact attorney Kenneth LaBore, directly please send an email to Klabore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com or call Ken at 612-743-9048.


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