Considering a nursing home for a loved one? You might want to consider the recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Among for-profit nursing homes, 94 percent were cited for health and safety standard violations last year. The majority, two-thirds of nursing homes, are owned by for-profit companies.
And 17 percent had deficiencies that caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients.
Problems include infected bedsores, medication errors, poor food, and abuse and neglect of patients. About 20 percent of the more than 37,000 complaints inspectors received last year concerned abuse or neglect of patients.
Non-profit owned homes, about 27 percent included in this survey, did not fare much better. 88 percent were cited for violations, and 91 percent of government operated homes were cited.
The best care can be found in homes that have a high ratio of nursing staff to patients.
Rhode Island had some of the fewest violations at 2.5 deficiencies per nursing home. Delaware was at the other end of the spectrum with 13.3 per home.
The inspector general has issued a compliance guide for nursing homes. They must be inspected once a year to see whether they meet federal standards.
More than 1.5 million Americans live in nursing homes and as a condition of housing Medicaid and Medicare patients, the nation’s nursing homes must meet federal standards. The federal program costs taxpayers more than $75 billion a year.
Expect a five star system of rating to appear on the web beginning this December. The Bush administration is pushing the plan, which will describe the overall quality of care, the best ranking will appear with five stars. #