Conditions in Washington nursing homes rank among worst in nation

When it comes to poor conditions at nursing homes, a new study ranks Washington state among the top of the list.

Washington state takes steps to stem epidemic of elder abuse

The online resource Senior List notes the state's 213 licensed nursing homes rank among a handful of categories. The state averages the most complaints, has the sixth-most "substandard care deficiencies," and the third most complaints related to food and dietary needs. In total, the state "produc[ed] more than 3,800 deficiencies" in the data collected.

Washington also ranked 14th in the U.S. in financial penalties levied against nursing facilities in the last 12 months.

This comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee proclaiming June “Adult Abuse Awareness Month,” citing levels of adult abuse reaching “unprecedented” levels statewide.

“We have an increasing number of vulnerable adults in Washington state,” Adult Protection Services Director Kathy Morgan said in a news release. “Our job is to promote individual choice while offering protective services.”

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services received over 60,000 reports of “vulnerable adult abandonment, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and self-neglect” in 2018. That’s up 25 percent over 2017’s 48,000 reports.

This has been an issue that dates all the way back to 2015, when Adult Protective Services received more than 7,800 complaints of financial exploitation, and more than 5,400 neglect complaints.

Vulnerable adults include anyone above 60 years old with physical, functional, or mental disabilities that restrict their ability to care for themselves. It also includes anyone 18 years or older with a development disability, living under a legal guardian.

More news from KIRO 7