When placing your loved one in an Alabama nursing home, you presumably expect a safe environment that provides the best possible care. After all, that's what nursing homes are designed for. A regular nursing home inspection of an Alabama facility is an important part of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our elderly population.
Regular inspections ensure that nursing homes provide their residents with the highest quality of care. They ensure that nursing homes are free from hazards that can cause injuries or health issues and that they maintain cleanliness and hygiene to prevent infections or illnesses. However, the COVID-19 pandemic initially halted routine nursing home inspections nationwide. This led to a significant nursing home inspection backlog, which set the stage for the neglect of residents.
How has the nursing home inspection backlog impacted Alabama facilities?
Alabama is already facing an inspection crisis, with only 10 inspectors statewide. Staffing challenges have hindered the resumption of facility inspections. The state has faced one of the country's highest nursing home surveyor vacancies, at 80 percent. This figure, highlighted in a recent U.S. Senate report, places Alabama second only to Kentucky for vacancy rates.
Dr. Amber Clark-Brown from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), the agency responsible for overseeing the state's nursing home inspection program, apologized for any perceived shortcomings. She attributes the low staffing to retirements and the allure of better-paying positions in the private sector. She acknowledged that the wages offered by the state can't compete with those of traveling nurses or hospital-based roles.
The shortage of surveyors has significant implications for nursing home residents who depend on the quality of care these facilities provide. Jon Matson, Director of the Alabama Nursing Home Association, emphasizes the importance of regular inspections for maintaining standards and allowing facilities to improve.
This surveyor shortfall has led to a worrying delay in routine inspections. A review of the latest federal inspection data revealed that nearly 31% of Alabama's nursing homes haven't had their routine annual inspection since before the pandemic. About 15% have gone more than four years without one.
How does this lack of inspections harm nursing home residents?
The lack of nursing home inspections has significant negative impacts on residents. Here's how it often harms residents:
- Decline in quality of care: This might lead to neglect of basic needs such as hygiene, proper nutrition, and medical care.
- Increased risk of abuse: Without the fear of getting caught and penalized, some staff engage in abusive behaviors.
- Health and safety hazards: A lack of inspections leads to unsanitary conditions, increased risk of infections, and unaddressed safety hazards.
How can I find the last date of an Alabama nursing home inspection?
For those concerned about the care of their loved ones, it's important to review when the last nursing home inspection was at an Alabama facility. You'll find the last date of inspection of each facility listed below:
We hold negligent nursing homes in Alabama accountable
A routine nursing home inspection helps prevent nursing home neglect. Unfortunately, Alabama remains behind the curve when it comes to these safety inspections. If your loved one was harmed in an Alabama nursing facility, don't hesitate to contact Shuttlesworth Law Firm, P.C. in Birmingham to see how an experienced nursing home neglect attorney can help.
Our dedicated legal team knows how to investigate nursing homes and find strong evidence to support your claim. We're also skilled negotiators and will fight tirelessly to help your family pursue maximum compensation for your losses. When it comes to cases involving nursing home neglect, seeking accountability for your loved one is our top priority. To take the next step toward justice, contact us for a free consultation.