Articles Posted in Government Reports

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If the GAO succeeds the number of nursing facilities on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Special Focus Facility (SFF) list from 135 to 580. The GAO enhanced the list by altering the methodology used by the CMS to make SFF designations. The changes include the use of a national rather than a state-based comparison and incorporating CMS Five Star Quality Rating scoring into the calculation. The GAO explained that its expanded list differs substantially from the CMS list. The list will contain the names and addresses of the facilities, which are identified as “the most poorly performing.” Hopefully this new list will help deter residents from choosing nursing homes guilty of elderly abuse. To take a look at the old nursing home list, please click the link.

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A study by Rush University Medical Center found that seniors who neglect themselves tend to be individuals with limited social networks and little social engagement. The study is the largest epidemiological study to date examining a wide range of sociodemographic, health-related and psychosocial characteristics associated with elder self-neglect. This is extremely important because reports of self-neglect to social service agencies are rising. Elder self-neglect is defined by the National Centers on Elder Abuse as “the behavior of an elderly person that threatens his/her own health and safety.” Twice as many women as men and more than seven times the number of African Americans as whites were reported for self-neglect. Professionals who work with the elderly need to be mindful not just of their patients’ health profile, but also of their social well-being, a factor that may put them at risk of self-neglect. To learn how to detect self-neglect, please click the link.

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A scary result of the Omincare drug kickback case is how vulnerable elderly people in nursing homes are to schemes in which drug companies allegedly induce pharmacies to prescribe drugs they otherwise would not. One patient cited by the government’s complaint received 67 different drugs under Omnicare’s reign. The drugs include Cipro, Neurotin, Hearin, Pepcid, Oxycodone and Seroqueol. Omnicare, the country’s largest nursing home pharmacy chain, pain $98 million to settle the case. Also the Wall Street Journal noticed that the government accused Johnson and Johnson of paying kickbacks as well. One single patient received 67 drugs from Omnicare’s pharmacies. It appears that the patients are being “cycled’ through various drug categories. Medication errors are a common form of nursing home abuse. To read more about the pharmacy kickbacks, please click the link.

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According to the Government Accountability Office almost 4 percent of the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes could be considered “the most poorly performing” of standards of nursing homes. The most poorly performing home’s tended to be chain-affiliated, for-profit and have more beds and residents. To identify the worst homes in the nation, GAO applied CMS’s Special Focus Facilities methodology on a nationwide basis and made refinements to the methodology that “strengthened” GAO’s estimate. The most poorly performing nursing homes had notably more deficiencies. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has identified that four Illinois nursing homes are Special Focus Facilities that include:

Pekin Manor in Pekin, Illinois Shawnee Rose Care Center in Harrisburg, Illinois Embassy Health Care Centre in Wilmington, Illinois International Village in Chicago, Illinois
To read more about the nursing home study, please visit the NCCNHR’s website.

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A new federal report shows that Illinois has the nation’s second-highest number of nursing homes that have been flagged as having poor quality. Forty-seven Illinois nursing homes are among facilities that perform “most poorly” on quality-of-care measures, according a study released by the General Accounting Office. The report rated homes on staffing levels, procedures to prevent bed sores, measures to prevent elderly abuse and neglect and other factors. The study recommends vastly expanding a federal program that closely monitors U.S. nursing homes with the worst quality ratings. The report also highlights shortcomings in the way that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are administered. Homes in Illinois, whose nursing homes perform worse than others, should have closer inspections. The Health Care Council of Illinois stated that they have not had the chance to review the report. Homes rated as poorly performing tend to be larger, for profit agencies and have an average of nearly 24% fewer registered nurses relative to the number of patients. Illinois has recently created a task force to combat allegations of nursing home abuse that occurs at the hands of mentally ill patients. To read more about the nursing home study, please click the link.

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A report released by the National Council on Disability claims that the federal government still has a long way to go to insure that disabled Americans are protected during major disasters. The report states that emergency agencies should be able to talk to disabled people and their representatives for guidance in formulating disaster plans. Oftentimes the disabled and the elderly are left out of planning activities in emergency situations. These activities include assessing the hazards, risks, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery needs. FEMA has added a senior adviser on disability issues. This comes after thirty-five patients wrongfully died in a nursing home during Hurricane Katrina. Its owners were acquitted of negligent homicide charges. Nursing home negligence can oftentimes occur if there is no comprehensive emergency plan. Emergency plans are greatly needed in Chicago nursing homes. To read more about the emergency plans, please click the link.

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According to the estimates by the Illinois Department on Aging, as many as 80,000 people are victims of elderly abuse each year. Due to these staggering numbers, the Department has declared July to be Elder Abuse Awareness Month. Along with them, McHenry County state’s attorney Louis Bianchi has been working with the elderly on a local level through presentations and distributing information packets. The two groups point out that elder abuse, defined as neglect, physical injury, mental, sexual or financial abuse, often goes unreported because the elderly are too embarrassed or unsure of what to do. One of the biggest forms of abuse fails in financial exploitation, especially due to the faltering economy. To read more about ways to prevent elderly abuse, please click the link.

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A recent nursing home population analysis found that the number of first-time nursing home residents admitted with mental illness has far surpassed the number of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The number of nursing home residents admitted with a mental illness rose from 168,721 to 187,478. That is more than 50% more than those admitted dementia only, which considers many mental illnesses. Unfortunately, many patients fall victims to elderly abuse at the hands of other mentally ill patients. This type of nursing home abuse occurs throughout the country, including here in Chicago, Illinois. To read more about the nursing home study, please click the link.

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A study shows that about 47,000 elderly Americans are treated in emergency rooms each year from falls associated with walkers and canes. An epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that walking aids can be a hazard if not used properly. The study found that 87 percent of fall injuries involved walkers and 12 percent involved canes. A statistical analysis estimates that there are 47,312 falls a year that involve a cane or walker. Sixteen percent of the falls involving walkers occurred at nursing homes. Doctors should consider taking more time to show patients how to use walkers properly and that additional research could lead to design improvements for walking aids. To read more about the fall study, please click the link.

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The National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform has joined with Geriatric Nursing Centers in order to develop quality care for Nursing Homes. The important and complex role of nursing in culture change is examined in the newly released issue paper entitled Nurses’ Involvement in Nursing Home Culture Change: Overcoming Barriers, Advancing Opportunities. The paper discusses the idea that in nursing homes, the movement away from institutional provider-driven models of care to more humane consumer-driven models of care that embrace flexibility and resident self-determination has come to be known as culture change. The NCCHNR is striving hard to adhere to the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 which states that each resident must provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care. To read more about the nursing home study, please click the link.