The risks of nursing home abuse are substantial for seniors. Often, in facilities where abuse and neglect occur, there are a myriad of problems affecting the health and safety of seniors. When a nursing home does not have appropriate policies for following best practices for resident care, this can effect every aspect of the nursing home environment. From poorly trained staff to an unsafe physical environment, nursing homes that don't care enough about patient safety will create many risks that threaten the lives of patients.
Prospective nursing home patients and their families need to be able to identify which facilities have pervasive problems because they do not prioritize patient care. This task is easier said than done. Even tools like the nursing home compare service operated by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) may not be accurate enough to provide the information patients need to make the most informed choices.
The Difficulty of Avoiding Nursing Home Abuse By Identifying Safe Facilities
Bloomberg BNA reported recently on concerns about the CMS nursing home compare service. While CMS has just updated its comparison service to incorporate five new quality measures, the changes to its rating and comparison features did not do anything to address some of the problems. Several senators have expressed concern about the accuracy of the data and ratings system. If the system is not based on complete and accurate information, seniors and their families won't be able to trust the comparison tool.
Now more than ever, seniors and their families need proper information about problems with nursing homes. This is because many nursing homes are now run by larger companies with few ties to local communities and with a focus on profit over patient care. When a nursing home has substandard policies because it does not prioritize protecting its residents, problems can arise with care at every level.
For example, Boston Globe just published a 70 page report detailing a series of problems at a nursing home facility where a patient with dementia died of a heart attack. The staff members who were present when the patient had the heart attack were not properly trained to resuscitate the patient, who also suffered from dementia.
The investigation into the nursing facility revealed most of the staff didn't have the training to provide any kind of life saving care. Furthermore, there were also empty oxygen machines which should have been available to provide life-saving oxygen, problems with cardiac equipment, missing alarms which were supposed to keep dementia patients within the confines of the facility, and a host of other lapses which could endanger the lives of seniors.
This nursing facility is one of many with widespread problems throughout the United States. Patients and their families need to know which homes have the highest risks of nursing home abuse and neglect. Patients should also take action if problems do arise so the facility can be held accountable.