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(TRENTON) - Following a glaring report detailing alleged neglect at several for-profit memory care homes that cater to patients with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Connie Wagner (both D-Bergen) said Wednesday they will introduce legislation to improve state oversight in order to combat abuse in these facilities.
The measure follows a report by The Record this past weekend that revealed a series of troubling incidents that occurred at facilities operated by Memory Care Living at Potomac Homes -which specializes in an alternative kind of senior care that is not as highly regulated as nursing homes - including the case of an elderly man suffering from dementia who wandered four blocks from a group home in Mahwah in Bergen County in March, and was found standing in the middle of a busy intersection. The incidents were documented in state inspection records. According to the report, state regulators have repeatedly characterized Potomac's homes as a "chronic offender."
"I am concerned about the lack of accountability and oversight of these facilities cited in the report," said Vainieri Huttle. "The incidents are too many and too disturbing to ignore. Individuals with Alzheimer's are especially vulnerable and we must ensure that they are receiving appropriate care in a safe environment. This is a health and safety issue and a consumer issue."
"Placing a loved one in a home is often a difficult decision. These diseases are debilitating and require a level of care that many are unable to provide at home. The incidents cited in this report are heartbreaking," said Wagner. "Families who entrust the care of their relatives to these facilities should have the peace of mind that their loved ones are getting the care they need and require."
Contact Eva Loayza at (609) 847-3500
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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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