WGBH: State Watchdogs Have Been Banned From Nursing Homes, Along With All Visitors
Elder advocates and watchdog groups don’t question the rationale to curb infection, but they say the lack of oversight could undermine the care of these elders at a critical time, as nursing homes are becoming hot spots for infections.
“There’s not as many eyes looking at them,” said Alison Weingartner, executive director of the Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. “If you don’t have the family members, you don’t have the ombudsmen coming in to see them, there’s a potential for neglect that won’t be witnessed by anybody else.”
Elder advocates and watchdogs like Weingartner said nursing home operators have not earned that trust. They pointed to government inspections over the last three years that found more than two-thirds of nursing homes in the state violated infection control standards.
Weingartner said that barring family members and ombudsmen increases the need for transparency from all the elder-housing facilities in the state through daily COVID-19 reports. State lawmakers are now pushing for legislation to make that happen.