Ensuring the health and wellness of incarcerated older adults
Nearly 3,000 older inmates make aging the Ohio DRC's business
June 10, 2016
By Gary Mohr, Director
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Within the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections' inmate population, 2,887 inmates are 60 years of age or older. As our incarcerated population continues to age, more men and women are in need of additional assistance.
The DRC has many protocols in place for offenders over the age of 40, including specific tests and examinations to address their health and needs. For men over 50, we provide yearly hemoccult tests, lipid profiles, fasting glucose, calculated BMI and additional risk factor assessments.
Likewise, for female offenders age 50 and older, we provide the same examinations including bone density scans, cervical cancer screenings and yearly biennial mammograms.
The DRC also provides special units for aging inmates. The Southeastern Correctional Complex Hocking Unit houses approximately 450 older offenders. Specific advantages for this unit include elevator accessibility for inmates, the entire unit is located under one single roof and many recreational activities geared toward the older population are available.
At Pickaway Correctional and Franklin Medical Center are our long-term skilled-care units. These units feature single beds and increased healthcare staffing. While not solely restricted to older inmates, the majority of patients housed in these units are older offenders.
Lastly, at Allen-Oakwood correctional is our dementia unit. This unit provides specialized medical and mental health services to inmates diagnosed with dementia and cognitive-related disorders.
The DRC is also currently in the mid-implementation phase of Medicaid pre-release enrollment. This allows inmates of any age the opportunity to apply for Medicaid and select a managed vare plan at least 90 days prior to their release. This program will help ensure that our older inmates, when released from their incarceration, will continue to receive the medical care and assistance they need.
As we continue to reduce recidivism among those we touch, it is imperative that the DRC work closely with the Department of Aging. Such a partnership will go a long way toward keeping Ohio safer by returning better people to their communities.
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