Knowing which nursing homes are bad can be valuable information for a family seeking long-term care for an elderly loved one but concerned about issues like nursing home abuse and neglect. Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the names of 54 nursing homes that had ranked as one of the worst in their state. Proper administration of medication to patients, appropriate assistance with activities of daily life and concern for the prevention of malnutrition and dehydration are examples of what inspectors look for in nursing homes. Inspectors also look for signs of nursing home abuse and neglect such as failure to maintain resident safety and prevent accidents, such as falls, infections, bed sores and other problems elderly people are susceptible to.
The list published by CMS containing the names of 54 nursing homes is actually a sample of 128 “special focus facilities”, or homes that were identified as in need of more oversight. CMS says that the rest of the facilities were not identified because during the six months after being titled a “focus facility” they showed improvement. Democratic legislators, however, are demanding that all of the names be released in order to protect nursing home residents. Most nursing homes have around 6-7 deficiencies identified during inspection, but the ones on the list had twice as many or more. Unfortunately, no national standard has been set for the investigations so each state has its own parameters. An Illinois nursing home can be considered in terrible condition, but would not qualify in another state. A bill was recently introduced in the legislature to make it mandatory for CMS to publish all of the names, but the issue of discrepancies between states’ standards is an issue that should be addressed by congress.
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