Supporters of nursing home reform in Arkansas are continuing efforts to get community leaders and organizations involved with efforts to improve elder care facilities.
Organizers of the Tenth Annual Residents’ Rights Rally assembled on the steps of the State Capitol Monday to commemorate National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month.
Martha Deaver, president of Arkansas Advocates for Nursing Home Residents, says the rights and safety of the vulnerable must be protected.
“The national data shows that nine out of ten nursing homes in the United States are cited for healthcare violations,” said Deaver. “Abuse and neglect in nursing homes is a national epidemic and it is not necessarily unique to Arkansas.”
Dr. David Montague oversees the work of the UALR Senior Justice Center. He says more must be done to ensure there are advocates representing the needs of severely disabled nursing home residents and those residents in elder care facilities who speak a different language.
“We need to focus on reaching people who are not aware of the statistics, perceptions, and realities that exist concerning elder abuse in communities across the state,” said Montague. “There are changing demographics in Arkansas and we have to make sure students have the knowledge and tools necessary to help solve some of the problems impacting that older population.”
Monatgue says the UALR Senior Justice Center remains the only university-based program in the country that primarily uses undergraduate students to address crimes that impact senior citizens.