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21% of Michigan nursing home patients neglected -MSU study

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A new Michigan State University study finds more than one in five Michigan nursing home patients is neglected. 

 The study examined cases of physical neglect, in which the caregiver failed or refused to meet a resident’s needs of food, water, personal hygiene, clothing, medicine, shelter, personal safety or comfort.

 Lead researcher Zhenmei Zhang is an assistant professor of sociology at MSU.

“The most vulnerable elderly are the most likely to be neglected.”

She says the number of neglect cases researchers discovered is probably just the tip of the iceberg, because the families of many nursing home patients don’t visit often enough to witness neglect.

Zhang says more frequent family visits and greater quality control by nursing home operators would reduce neglect problems. The study appears in the January issue of the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect.


The Health Care Association of Michigan President/CEO David LaLumia issued this statement in response to the MSU study. 


“Improving the quality of care is a constant, continual process that involves a number of aspects: continuously improving clinical and administrative practices; involving residents and families in planning their care and ensuring they are satisfied with the care they receive; developing a skilled and caring work force through participating in continuing education programs; and managing a facility in an ethical, transparent and accountable way. “The Health Care Association of Michigan is in the process of reviewing the MSU study and the process by which they came to their conclusions. We take concerns about the quality of care for nursing facility residents very seriously. “Skilled nursing is one of Michigan’s most highly regulated professions, operating under more than 1,000 state and federal regulations. We encourage family members to become more involved in their loved ones care and ask questions if they have concerns.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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