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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

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Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Friday, March 09, 2012

Assisted living inspections on the chopping block

Advocates of long-term-care residents say the cuts, which have led to less frequent inspections, are worrisome. More elderly people with greater medical needs are entering the facilities, which provide more intensive care than independent living facilities but less than nursing homes.

"A vulnerable population and a weakened regulatory system is just asking for trouble," said Catherine Hawes, a researcher for the Texas A&M Health Science Center who specializes in long-term-care policy. "It's a prescription for disaster."

Industry representatives also are nervous. Annual state inspections, they say, are a good way to catch problems and fix them sooner.

"We just hope no incidents jump up and bite people," said Gail Harmon, executive director of the Texas Assisted Living Association.

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services recently eliminated 60 inspectors responsible for reviewing licensed long-term-care facilities, including nursing homes. More than 1,600 assisted living facilities do business in the state, and more than 250 are in the Houston area.

Less oversight

State officials say they will devote less time to assisted living facilities, which aren't as heavily regulated as nursing homes. Assisted living centers will likely be visited every 18 to 24 months instead of annually, said agency spokeswoman Allison Lowery.

Inspectors will try to continue to review facilities with poor compliance histories every year but will extend inspection times for those with good compliance histories, Lowery said.

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