Long Term Care in Texas
Long-term elder care is provided in many settings in Texas from private homes to designated facilities. The type of care given includes assisted living help with basic tasks such as bathing, dressing, personal care, housekeeping, and meal prep. With government officials estimating 70% of people turning 65 will likely use long-term care in their lifetimes, the quality of that care is important.
With approximately 15% of the total Texas population of nearly 29 million over 60 years old, state demographics indicate that older people are one of the fastest growing population groups. Experts project the 85+ group will triple as well by 2050 with more than 1.3 million reaching that milestone and beyond. Increased longevity requires care solutions designed for this group keep pace with quality and compliance standards.
Nursing Homes vs Long-Term Care
While the more than 1,200 nursing homes in Texas can provide long-term care services, there’s also at least three additional ways elderly long-term care is supplied. These include:
- Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs): This setting is for those who need help with daily activities, such as meals, laundry, or housekeeping, but don’t need as much care as a nursing home provides. Health care services are available but usually the population is medically stable. There are around 2,000 ALFs in Texas, according to the Texas Health Care Association.
- In-Home Care Providers: Licensed health care professionals provide for health needs or other professional care givers assist with daily activity needs. These providers may supplement care by family members.
- Adult Day Services: Like a care setting for children, these facilities provide social and support programs for a limited amount of time during the day. This option is often used by family or private caregivers when they need a break or to run errands.
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Who Uses Long-term Care?
There are a variety of reasons you or a loved one need long-term care. Sometimes more than one reason can be present. These reasons include:
- Age – When we get older, some daily activities become more difficult and help is needed.
- Gender – Because women live on average five more years than men, they often are living at home alone.
- Disability – According to state figures, nearly 70% of people age 90 and over have a disability or chronic illness.
- Health status – Those with chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure might need help managing them.
- Living arrangements – Those who live alone usually need paid help.
What is Elder Abuse and Neglect?
Elder abuse occurs when this vulnerable population is harmed:
- Physically (hitting, slapping, choking, burning)
- Emotionally (yelling, threats, harassment, intimidation, withholding)
- Sexually (any non-consensual activity)
- Financially (unusual spending, surprise power of attorney, missing credit cards)
- Neglectfully (failure to provide necessities)
The perpetrators of this abuse can be professional caregivers and staff at ALFs or elder day care, or even trusted family members and friends. The National Council on Aging estimates that as many as five million people over 60 are abused each year. Even with numbers in the millions, studies indicate elder neglect is woefully underreported.
Signs that your loved one may be suffering abuse or neglect in a long-time care setting include:
- Unexplained bruises, scratches, welts, burns
- Crying or startling easily
- Injuries to sex organs
- Lack of tears, cracked lips, or reduced urination
- Weight loss
- Unusual spending or missing financial instruments
- Broken bones
- Dirty clothes or bad hygiene
If you experience, or observe any of these things, get help from authorities right away. Once safe, you need to contact the Begum Law Group. Our personal injury attorneys understand elder abuse and neglect law and will make the responsible parties pay for the damages they caused.
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Regulating Long-term Care Facilities, Complaints, and Resources
The Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities (DADS) licenses and inspects long-term care facilities. DADS is also where complaints about long-term care providers should be made.
Contact DADS at (800) 458-9858 or e-mail CRSComplaints@dads.state.tx.us with complaints about poor, negligent, or elder abuse by long-term care providers. By law, you or your loved one cannot be retaliated against for making a complaint to DADS.
The Texas Department of Insurance also provides resources for long-term care questions and issues.
Legal Claims Available for Victims of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Those who suffer elder abuse or neglect in a long-term care facility or other setting in which they receive such services, including at home, deserve to be compensated. The injuries may require extensive medical treatment, including for the emotional damage such harm causes. Depending on who the responsible party is, there are a few legal claims that could be brought.
Personal injury caused by negligence is one type of legal action that could be pursued. Under Texas law, we’d show that the long-term care provider:
- Owed a duty of care
- Failed (or breached) that duty of care
- Damages resulted because of that breach
For example, a licensed long-term care aide was providing home care for your elderly father. You noticed he had a new bruise, scratch, or other injury for three consecutive visits. When you asked about them, the aide told one story, and your dad just seemed confused. You started to wonder if he was being abused, and when called about his unexplained broken bone, you knew it was no accident. As your dad’s personal injury attorneys, we’d investigate the facts to show the aide’s abuse led to the injury and the insurer of the care company would be liable.
Besides negligence, other possible claims include:
- medical malpractice if health care treatment didn’t meet the standard of care, or
- a wrongful death claim if your loved one dies from elder abuse or neglect while in long-term care.
Suspect Elder Long-term Care Neglect or Abuse? Contact Begum Law Group
The elderly deserve respect, compassion, and quality care that is free from abuse and neglect. If you or a loved one is experiencing harm in a long-term care setting, whether home care or in an assisted living facility or elder care day program, let us help. First, we’ll work to get you safe and receiving proper care and then we will fight for compensation for any injuries caused.