Adult family homes – a solution or a problem?

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 adult care.

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 this article.