Hot Topic: Nursing Homes for Sex Offenders & Violent Offenders

VA- Bill Would Identify Sex Offenders at Nursing Homes

Issue-1: Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Centers for the Aged. It seems to me that registered sex offenders, as humans, and needing the services of a nursing home, would have no other way to obtain them. Accordingly, lawmakers should not deny services to this subgrooup of society, to do such is against the principles of government.
4-29-2008 Virginia:

The Virginia State Crime Commission is calling for closer scrutiny of convicted sex offenders who live in nursing homes after finding more than a dozen housed in facilities across the state.

The commission has endorsed legislation that would require nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to check residents' names against the state sex offender registry within three days of admittance. Nursing homes also would be required to direct new patients and their families to the state's online registry to find information about offenders at a given facility.

Virginia law requires convicted sex offenders to regularly report their whereabouts to authorities. The online registry contains photos, addresses and information about their offenses.

The measure would not bar sex offenders from nursing homes, but it would put facilities and new residents on notice when an offender has been admitted, commission members say. The legislation would make Virginia one of a growing number of states to require people in long-term care to be checked against a sex offender registry.

Last year, the commission conducted a study that found three to six sex offenders living in Virginia nursing homes and about 16 in assisted-living facilities. Those numbers, however, represent only a fraction of the thousands of residents living in the more than 265 nursing facilities in Virginia.

An investigation by The Washington Post in 2004 revealed that more than 40 violent sex offenders -- including rapists and pedophiles -- had lived in licensed Virginia assisted-living facilities during an 18-month period, according to state registries.

--Notice the reporting, no mention of whether or not these folks needed the services of the nursing home. So again, the media is lobbying under the pretext of reporting.--

The Crime Commission's chairman, Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach), said the notification requirement could be an important tool for staff members at nursing homes to increase the safety of patients.

"The patients in nursing homes may be some of the most vulnerable people in the community," Stolle said. "The idea that they could be vulnerable to attack is very unsettling."

The push for greater scrutiny of sex offenders in Virginia comes as more than a dozen states are grappling with concerns that convicted sex offenders in long-term care facilities could victimize the elderly and the disabled.

Last year, the Government Accountability Office reported finding about 700 registered sex offenders living in about 23,000 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across the country. But the actual number is probably larger, in part because of discrepancies between the national sex offender registry and individual state registries, according to the GAO report.

--Again, notice the reporting, no mention of whether or not these folks needed the services of the nursing home. See below cited from that report:

Nursing homes provide a residential setting and a range of health care services for individuals who can no longer care for themselves because of physical or mental limitations. According to the most recent National Nursing Homes Survey (NNHS), approximately 90 percent of nursing home residents were age 65 and older and more than two-thirds were female.4 ICFs-MR are intended to provide a residential setting for treatment, rehabilitation, and supervision of people who have mental retardation or other disabilities, such as seizure disorders or behavior problems. In 2005, approximately 85 percent of ICF-MR residents were from 22 to 65; only 7 percent of the total resident population was over 65 years of age. In addition, unlike the nursing home population, the majority of ICF-MR residents were male. pgs- 6-7.

Earlier in that report is this comment which says nothing about whether this group needed the services of the nursing home:

Using the FBI’s NSOR, we identified about 700 registered sex offenders living in long-term care facilities during 2005, representing 0.05 percent of the 1.5 million residents of these facilities. About 3 percent of nursing homes and 0.7 percent of ICFs-MR housed a registered sex offender during 2005. Almost 90 percent of registered sex offenders we identified lived in nursing homes and were considerably younger than the general nursing home population, with 57 percent under age 65 compared to about 10 percent of all nursing home residents. pg-3.
In Illinois, a statewide review conducted last year turned up 1,000 convicted felons, including 60 sex offenders, among 100,000 residents in facilities there. The review was conducted after Illinois enacted a law requiring criminal background checks on nursing home patients and treatment evaluations for patients who are sex offenders. Recently, state and local lawmakers in California, Minnesota, New York and Oklahoma have considered adopting similar measures.

Some advocates for the elderly in Virginia say the Crime Commission's recommendations do not go far enough.

Madge Bush, director of advocacy for the Virginia chapter of the AARP, said the notification legislation would put an unfair burden on patients' families to find out about sex offenders at nursing homes. Bush said her organization is pushing for signs to be posted in "conspicuous places" at nursing homes to notify patients of the presence of sex offenders.

"If I'm a new patient or I'm taking my mother to a nursing facility in the state, the last thing on my mind at such a stressful and difficult time is going to be checking on the Internet for sex offenders there," Bush said. ..more.. by Candace Rondeaux, Washington Post Staff Writer. Staff writer David S. Fallis contributed to this report.

No comments: