“This is the first step in our efforts to provide information on abusers to providers and families hiring caregivers,” Kathy Floyd, executive director of the Georgia Council on Aging, said. “This registry is a critical step in providing a safe living environment for elderly and disabled Georgians receiving long-term care services.”
The state currently maintains a registry of certified nursing assistants who have completed training.
Hospitals and nursing homes are required to check the registry to see if a nurse’s license is current, and can review findings of abuse, neglect, exploitation or misappropriation of property.
There are 73,000 active CNAs and 210,000 inactive CNAs on the registry, with 1,350 adverse findings logged.
According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, “Elder abuse is an underrecognized, undetected and underreported problem with devastating and life-threatening consequences.”
Calvin Mangum, who regularly enjoys a hot meal and round of pool at the Senior Life Center in Gainesville, said the expanded registry is important for vulnerable patients.
Though he has never experienced any abuse, Mangum recalled a friend who once was neglected by in-home caregivers.
“The family should have been there,” he said.
The latest law expands the registry’s scope to include “adverse findings” on CNAs who work in home settings.
“As more individuals desire to remain at home ... it makes sense to track CNAs in all the situations where they provide care,” Floyd said.
Patricia Cunningham agreed. She worked as a nurse in hospitals and nursing homes before retiring into the leisure and friendship available at the Senior Life Center.
“More people want to stay in their home,” she said, adding that this makes the expanded registry all the more necessary.
Cunningham said she has never witnessed elder abuse, but believes the expanded registry will provide better screening of caregivers.
“It can happen anywhere,” she said about abuse.
Daniel Johnson, sitting next to Cunningham at the senior center on a recent afternoon, said one caveat that should be considered is that caregivers might be falsely accused. Sometimes patients and their nurses have personality conflicts, and people can interpret the same events differently, he added.
Moreover, Johnson said he is thankful for the good in-home care his mother received. Her nurse became like family.
“It should come with some restrictions,” he said of the registry. “Good people are hard to find. ”
Floyd said her organization, created by the Georgia General Assembly in 1977 to advise the governor, assembly and state agencies on programs for Georgia’s seniors, wants to grow the registry to include a broader range of caregivers who are not CNAs.
“We will work (with lawmakers) to design legislation to bring to the 2017 session,” she said.
Full Article & Source:
Elder registry expansion targets in-home nurses to weed out abuse