Our Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys understand that a key factor in improving the care provided to nursing home residents is accountability. It is one thing to try to improve caregiving by continually discussing the harm certain actions have on seniors. It is another to measure the services provides, take note of deficiencies, and then take action when that care falls below a reasonable standard. True progress demands accountability. On an individual level, each resident and their family can demand accountability by properly monitoring the care their loved ones receives and filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit if necessary. Accountability at the industry level usually requires more systematic measures be in place to quantify overall care at assisted living facilities.
Fortunately, the need for system-wide advocacy reports is growing. In Illinois, local regulators provide some accountability by publishing quarterly violator lists, where facilities’ unreasonable and downright dangerous care is made publically available. In a similar vein, last week a team of university colleagues issued a report measuring nationwide nursing home trend based on On-line Survey and Certification System (OSCAR) reports completed during licensing and certification procedures by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The results are disturbing, acting as yet another reminder that the care received by our seniors throughout the country is consistently problematic and riddled with nursing home neglect and abuse.
For example, the report found that the average nursing home was cited at least ten times for serious deficiencies over the past five years. Those citations relate to events where inadequate care actually harmed residents or put them in jeopardy. In 2010 alone, 146,000 care deficiencies were reported. Last year nearly one out of every four homes was cited for inadequate care-clearly this is not a local or isolated problem.
Looking closely at types of deficiencies reveals some trends. These are areas that family members of nursing home residents should be aware of, because they likely constitute risks for loved ones. For example, forty three percent of homes have inadequate infection control procedures in place. A similar percentage failed to ensure adequate safety regulations were in place to prevent accidents-such as falls and wandering. Twenty eight percent of homes also had no care plans in place. Particularly troubling, nearly a quarter of every facility was cited for giving residents unnecessary drugs. We have consistently reported on this over-drugging of nursing home residents in antipsychotic residents.
Besides noting trouble with quality care at many facilities, the report also highlighted important overall trends in the industry. For example, the percentage of for-profit homes increased slightly over the past few years-these facilities now account for about 67.6 percent of all long-term care facilities. Also, nursing home chains are gaining market share, as chains account for nearly 55% of all homes-a four percent increase in the past five years. These trends are important to keep in mind, because our Illinois nursing home lawyers know that there is often a correlation between type of facilities and the care provided. This is usually connected to the profit motive.
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