Mental Health Patients Often Forced Into Nursing Homes

You would think that the mentally ill who are in need of treatment can get it at a mental health facility. However, that is not always the case. The Miami Herald reports that in Missouri, more and more mental health patients are being sent to nursing homes. Here, they languish and rarely get the care that they need.

Mass institutionalization of people with severe mental illness persisted until the 1980s. However, once that was made illegal there has not been enough support for the community mental health services that replaced it. This has led to many mentally ill patients being locked away in nursing homes.

These nursing homes have secure wings for the mentally ill patients that they serve. Despite this, they rarely have a psychiatrist on staff. Psychiatrists are on call and do visiting rounds once per month.

Patients get their medications, but they rarely get the kind of psychiatric care that they would receive in a specialized hospital.

There are no clear statistics on the number of psychiatric cases that are relying on skilled nursing facilities for care in Missouri.  A manager of an assisted living facility in Jefferson City, Missouri, Ed Bothe, estimates that some 800 patients with psychiatric issues are admitted to nursing homes every year.

Most of the patients are young. They are physically strong and living in centers that are adapted to the needs of the elderly.

Michelle Brown, director of the ombudsman office of Region Seven, in Kansas City, says: “They are mixing two populations that don’t necessarily meld well.”

If you believe that a loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect while staying in a long-term care facility or nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the attorneys at the law offices of Schenk Law and we can help you to get the compensation you deserve. Call us today.