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MPLP and Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service Consider Litigation to Address the Lack of Adequate Mental Health Care in Nursing Homes

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MPLP and Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service Consider Litigation
Issue 29, Autumn 2005

MPLP and Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service Consider Litigation
to Address the Lack of Adequate Mental Health Care in Nursing Homes

by Alison Hirschel, MPLP Elder Law Attorney

MPLP and Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service have heard widespread reports of inadequate mental health care in long term care facilities. Common problems appear to be the failure to diagnose mental illness, especially depression, in nursing home residents ; the failure to use generally accepted treatment methods for individuals whose mental illness has been identified; significant lack of trained psychiatrists and psychologists in nursing homes; inappropriate administration of psychotropic medications; poor assessment, care planning and documentation; and a host of other problems. Moreover, advocates allege that the PreAdmission Screening and Resident Review Program does not work well to identify individuals who require mental health services and to assure that those individuals receive appropriate services. As a result of all these failings, residents often experience poor quality of life, bounce back and forth between hospital psychiatric programs and nursing homes, or face involuntary (and often illegal) discharges due to their difficult behaviors.

MPAS and MPLP are interested in learning about clients who have experienced inadequate mental health care in nursing homes as well as facilities and programs that do a good job caring for mental health consumers. Please contact Alison Hirschel at MPLP (hirschel@umich.edu) or Mark Cody at MPAS (mcody@mpas.org) if you have information to share on this issue.

 


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