U.S. Sen. Al Franken announced legislation Friday to provide more oversight of the home care industry that seniors increasingly rely upon to avoid living in nursing homes.
The senator wants seniors who receive care in their homes to know more about their rights and be provided more information about who's caring for them. The bill aims to create minimum quality standards for a corner of the care industry that is expected to grow rapidly over the next two decades as baby boomers age. More and more seniors are expected to want to stay at home and out of nursing homes, which have are more heavily regulated, but less desirable for many seniors.
Franken (D-Minn.) said his bill aims to provide those who choose to stay in their home "the same rights and protections from elder abuse that seniors living in nursing homes already have."
The bill would create quality assurance standards and information that should be shared with consumers, such as whether home care agencies conduct background checks on employees and whether they are certified for the types of care they provide, according to a release issued by Franken. It also would direct states to develop a bill of rights for seniors receiving home care and provide additional funding for state consumer protection programs that include home care monitoring as part of their mission.
Franken, who sits on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, expects the bill will be included in broader legislation later this year that will reauthorize the Older Americans Act, a broad bill that provides funds for a variety of services that help the elderly. He's co-sponsoring the bill with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).