We’ve written before about negligence in nursing homes, but compared
to adult family homes, private homes set up as residences for up to six
people needing care, nursing homes come off as deluxe accommodations.
Adult family homes cost less than nursing homes, which is part of their
appeal. Unfortunately, an investigation by the Seattle Times discovered
that you often get less care at them as well. There are few regulations
governing adult family homes, and the staff at adult family homes often
have little training or pertinent background to qualify them to work in
The instances of abuse or neglect or error are alarmingly high in adult
family homes in Washington, and most of these are never reported or are
covered up. According to the Seattle Times, over the past five years there
were some 357 instances of abuse or neglect in adult family homes. These
cases range from giving incorrect medication or not providing basic care
(the anecdote about a man whose catheter was left untouched, that is,
not cleaned or changed, for four months shocked me. The patient died of
an infection resulting from this neglect).
Not only are the adult family homes, which number about 3,000 in Washington
State, guilty of poor care, but the regulatory body, the Department of
Social and Health Services (DSHS), doesn’t score much better. The
Seattle Times found that many cases were never properly investigated and
that punishments were few.
To read more about this situation, including many horrific stories, see