Nursing homes and hospitals often have close relationships. That is because individuals may go to and from one facility to another on different occasions. This relationship works both ways. On one hand, many seniors move into a nursing home only after a serious medical event which places them in a hospital. For example, after a heart attack, stroke, fall at home, or similar event, a senior may require hospitalization. Often, when the immediate injury is healed, the individual is still not in a condition to go back to prior living situation. That is why many seniors move into a nursing home directly into a nursing home.
Alternatively, while nursing homes do provide skilled medical care, they are not capable of providing every medical need for residents. When a nursing home resident suffers a serious medical emergency or an advanced ailment, then the resident must often go back into a hospital. This back and forth may happen several times, and there is therefore a clear relationship between many nursing homes and hospitals.
This is a natural relationship that is necessary to ensure that ailing seniors receive the exact care they need at the right time. However, this also sets up a tangential financial relationship between these entities. Hospitals often want to have the residents admitted for care when finances incentivize it. On the other hand, depending on insurance and payment structures, they often have the incentive to release patients–particularly those who have taken up a room for an extended length of time–into a nursing home. The nursing home obviously likes this as it is another bed filled and money coming in.
Money Over Care
Sadly, these money matters sometimes take priority of the best interest of seniors. For example, My Elder Advocate recently explained how a senior was forcibly ejected from a hospital and brought into a nursing home that he did not want to be at. The senior, an 85-year old man, was in the hospital recovering from an MRSA infection. Interestingly, the infection itself was developed while the man was in the hospital–a common problem plaguing many facilities. Antibiotic treatment are needed to recover from these ailments. Yet, before those treatments were even finished, administrators wanted the man removed from the hospital and brought back to a nursing home.
Bizarrely, several hospital staff members entered the man’s room and forcibly removed him from the hospital. In the rough-handling of the frail 95 pound elderly man, his phone was taken so that he could not call his wife. All of this led to his readmission to the nursing home he lived in previously. There are allegations of nursing home neglect at that facility, where he apparently lost over 2 pounds, suffered seizures, and otherwise did not receive the care he should have been entitled to. Yet, regardless of those allegations and irrespective of his desire not to go back to that facility before his antibiotic treatment was finished, he was forcible required to go back.
This represents a sad example of how resident interests can be ignored for the the interests of the facility itself. This should be fought against every step of the way.
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