Just a few years ago, the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System was set up to collect data on elder abuse throughout the United States via local and state-sponsored hotlines. Several weeks ago the agency's first report was published based on the results from 2016 and the results really aren't great.
In total, there were almost 1.5 million cases of elder abuse reported to the organization, including reports of emotional abuse, financial exploitation, abandonment and suspicious death. The reporting procedure for abuse is different depending on where you live: in states with a centralized intake hotline, there is a single number to call for abuse that happens anywhere in the state, but in decentralized states there are numerous different regional and local numbers to call, based on your location. Centralized states make up 45.3 percent of the total, with 20.8 percent having decentralized and the rest having a confusing combination of the two.
The report found that many regions don't have enough support for mistreated elders, citing long wait lists for services, services not being available in rural areas and a lack of transportation in rural places that makes treatment inaccessible to those who need it. It also found that the length of time for victims to be contacted is an average of 4.2 days, while the case completion time hovers around 47 days.
Many states do have a statewide standard assessment tool used by all staff, but 23.5 percent of the states reported that they don't have a similar tool available to all staff members.
With Trump's policies there's no hope that the numbers will go down. In 2017, his administration took measures to reduce the fines given to nursing homes that harm or kill residents, and is discouraging regulators from fining homes that commit crimes. Previously fines could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars, but now are capped at a measly $21,000. Since 2013, a total of 6,500 nursing homes have received a citation for serious crimes and two-thirds have been fined by Medicare.