Nursing homes’ safety has come under fire in recent years, particularly with greater corporatization and overworked employees. However, a Columbus Dispatch article shed light on the issue of registered sex offenders being placed in nursing homes — and how residents, family members, and workers aren’t always aware.
Carlton Manor, a Fayette County, Ohio home facing closure, takes care of typical residents, as well as 27 registered sex offenders, others with violent backgrounds, and those with schizophrenia, traumatic brain injuries, explosive personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and drug and alcohol problems. As the piece reveals, nursing homes in Ohio require no specific licenses or training to handle these types of patients; all it simply has to do is prove it provides proper care and has enough employees.
However, these findings aren’t unique to Carlton Manor or Ohio. Rather, as Long-Term Living points out, most states have no laws concerning sex offenders being placed in nursing homes.
In certain cases, residents and workers aren’t aware a registered sex offender is just a room away. As Fox 45 in Baltimore found through an investigative report in August 2013, this information does not have to be disclosed to other residents or guardians, and that’s perfectly legal in Maryland.
So how do family members placing an elderly parent or relative in this care situation find out? Wes Bledsoe, part of nursing home watchdog group A Perfect Cause, revealed in a report in 2008 that such information is only available by looking up a sex offender registry.
Bledsoe’s initial report, which involved analyzing addresses in a Medicare database, found 1,600 sex offenders may be placed in nursing homes across the U.S. In certain cases, these residents are between the ages of 20 and 40 and have been placed in this living arrangement because of disability, behavioral problems, or court order.
Bledsoe’s findings further reveal that sex offenders placed in nursing homes had committed 60 rapes, murders, and assaults over a four-year period.
By 2012, A Perfect Cause found this figure increased to 2,000 sex offenders being placed in nursing homes across the U.S.
However, as Long-Term Care pointed out, residents with criminal backgrounds aren’t the only major safety concern. If nursing homes conduct incomplete background checks on its full-time and contract employees, workers with similar histories may be taking care of residents and putting them at risk as a result.