More than 3,700 Montanans currently receive nursing home care.
Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Senator Steve Daines talked about some of the challenges within the industry at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.
He told the committee that 20 years ago, there were more than 100 nursing home facilities in the state. Now, there are just over 70.
Meanwhile in the last 10 years, the senior population in Montana has grown over 40 percent.
The committee addressed actions that can be taken to help the state and country’s aging population including ramping up efforts to make telemedicine accessible to those living in rural communities.
Another topic was more transparency and training for those working in facilities to make sure their patients are properly cared for.
Daines referenced a case in Lewistown where a state-run nursing home was cited after failing to protect their patients from verbal, physical, and sexual abuse.
“According to reports, on thirteen occasions, officials were not notified of incidents that included abuse in the facility’s wing that houses dementia patients,” Daines said. “As part of the investigation, one staff member said they had not been trained on how to help manage resident behaviors.”
Daines said the reports are concerning especially because the patients are some of the most vulnerable Montanans who are receiving mental health and long-term care services.
The Lewistown facility was forced to pay more than $250,000 in fines after the abuse was made public.