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Nursing home residents trapped in wheelchairs with floodwaters rising to their waists — the photo of Hurricane Harvey everyone’s seen. But even where the weather’s fine, nursing home residents are in danger.

An alert issued Monday by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services calls for urgent action. It cites incidents in 33 states where residents were rushed to emergency rooms because of rape, broken bones or severe neglect. The IG warned families to “visit your loved ones often” and “report potential cases of abuse or neglect to your local police.”

One out of every three Baby Boomers will at some point need a nursing home. Not necessarily for permanent living. Many will go for rehab after heart surgery or an orthopedic repair, never thinking the stay could turn deadly.

 

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