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Tougher Penalties for Unlicensed Adult Care Homes

home care aideIn a current news story it was reported that a Georgia House panel approved a bill that would toughen penalties for operating an unlicensed personal care home, raising a first offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. Unlicensed personal care homes have been a problem in Georgia for years, but two recent cases of abuse prompted the House Health and Human Services Committee to action. Unfortunately, cases of abuse and neglect are far too common in many parts of the country. Without real-time visibility to patient point-of-care with a home care system or home care software program like ClearCare Online, senior care homes and other facilities lack proper supervision and accountability.

According to Morris News Services, the number of reported complaints of physical, mental, and financial abuse of Georgia’s elderly rose 65 percent between 2008 and 2012. Up until now, many adult care homes have gotten off fairly lightly when it comes to sentencing. In one case, a woman with dementia was kept in a garage in a “sweltering hot” home and deprived of food and medication. The owner of the home was given a one-day sentence after a plea bargain, with credit for time served. Police Chief Dan Flynn relates, “That really got our attention.”

Apparently the consequences for elder abuse and neglect have not been severe enough to warrant change. Vicki Johnson of the Georgia Council on Aging told the panel that “as long as this crime remains a misdemeanor, the risk to the victim far outweighs the risk to the perpetrator.’’

The bill for changing the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony passed unanimously and now heads to the House floor. Although this change is a great first step in reducing elder abuse, unfortunately it will not eradicate it completely. Adult care homes are notoriously understaffed. Employees may also be inexperienced or unqualified. But what is the alternative? Many families enjoy the security and reliability of working with a reputable home care agency that offers a home care system or home care software such as ClearCare Online.

Unlike adult care homes or other long-term care facilities where personalized care from an attentive provider is the exception, not the rule, in-home caregivers are focused on each individual patient. With a home care system or home care software program, caregivers clock into their shift using the client’s home telephone. All daily tasks must be updated before the caregiver can clock out. Remote family members can log into ClearCare Online’s web-based home care system and verify that their loved one has taken his medications or made it to his scheduled doctor appointment. The type of peace of mind that comes with home care software is unparalleled.

Experts estimate more than 80 percent of elder abuse cases go unreported. Could your elderly relatives be suffering silently? Take action now and utilize ClearCare Online’s home care system and home care software to ensure the very best for your loved ones.

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