The Maine Monitor: As Residential Care Homes Expand in Maine, Seniors Don’t Always Get the Care They Need (May 21, 2023)
The disappearance of nursing home beds is sending thousands to “nonmedical” residences that aren’t equipped to handle more intensive health needs. Although the state considers residential care facilities to be “nonmedical institutions,” an investigation by The Maine Monitor and ProPublica found that these facilities are routinely called on to provide medical care to their residents — those suffering from advanced dementia or requiring medication management for conditions such as seizures and heart disease. State monitoring and investigation reports revealed that of the almost 700 violations issued from 2020 to 2022, roughly 200 involved “medications and treatments.” The analysis focused on citations at many of the state’s roughly 190 largest residential care facilities, called Level IV, which serve the largest number of people.
These facilities “shouldn’t have it both ways,” said Eric Carlson, director of long-term services and support advocacy at Justice in Aging, a nonprofit legal advocacy group focused on ending poverty among seniors. “You can’t on one hand say: ‘Oh, we’re an alternative to nursing facilities,’” and then when something bad happens say: “‘Well, we can’t be expected to have expertise on that stuff. We’re a social facility. We’re a nonmedical model,’” Carlson said.