Articles Posted in Illinois Nursing Home Stats

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Hidden VA Nursing Home Care Data Published

According to USA Today and The Boston Globe, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been tracking and withholding data on the quality of care at VA nursing homes for years. Because of this alleged fail, resident veterans and their families may not see the bigger picture regarding the quality of care services provided or performed. Families may also be withheld vital health care information to assist in making support decisions. On June 25, 2018, the national news outlets published the ‘hidden’ information from 133 VA nursing homes using reports obtained from internal DVA documents. The review concluded that for the 46,000 veteran residents across the U.S., more than two-thirds of their VA nursing homes were “more likely to have issues related to serious bedsores and residents who will suffer serious pain, than their counterparts in private nursing homes across the country.”

Unlike the VA, private nursing homes are required to submit timely reports on the care they provide to measure quality, inspection issues and staffing. That data is then publicly posted on a federal website for families to use when researching a facility for their loved one.

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We recently shared information on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s State of Long-Term Care in Illinois report. It offers the best summary of Illinois nursing home statistics that we have. While not without its issues, the report is a helpful way for those focused on these issues to get an idea of the “lay of land” in regards to most major nursing home related concerns.

Another publication that might be helpful comes from the Illinois Long-Term Care Council. The Council was created in 2003 to provide a forum for making recommendations on the state of long-term care in Illinois. In that way, it is a conduit for all those hoping to work within the system to influence various issues that affect nursing home residents and others similarly situated.

The Council issues an annual report that summarizes its work, mission, and recommendations for the future. As with the IDPH annual report, this document is a good jumping off point for those wanting to get information on the major issues affecting the industry in our state. The latest report from the Council available online is from 2010. You can download a copy of the full document here.

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Yesterday we shared information on the latest report available from the Illinois Department of Public Health on the State of Long-Term Care in Illinois. The report is far from perfect, but all those concerned about the care for seniors and those with disabilities in our state are well served by taking a look at the full research effort. It is helpful to identify trends and get a feel for the various issues that are affecting the industry, from staffing rates to reported instances of neglect.

In our previous post we discussed the steady total level of long-term care facilities, IDPH employee levels, and basic neglect and abuse trends. Some other interesting details to pull from the report include:

–The report indicates various citations issued to facilities. There are several types of citations, “A,” “Repeat A,” “B,” and “Repeat B.” These refer to the supposed severity of the problem at the facility and whether or not it is an on-going issue. The statistics on this front are somewhat interesting. For example, in 2007 there were 177 “Type A” violations issued–the more severe type of care problem. The following year, the same total dropped to 97. And then in 2009 the Type A violations count rose significantly to 214.

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When working with individuals and families hurt by nursing home negligence and misconduct, it is easy to get bogged down in case summaries. While individual stories are a vital component to the reality of nursing home care in Illinois, it is also helpful to examine more universal trends. After all, it is only by comparing system-wide data year over year that we are able to understand whether real impacts for the better are being made. For example, are citations going down? Are there more or fewer complaints to state officials from residents and their families? All of this provides a helpful indicator of where were are and where we need to go.

Unfortunately, it is notoriously difficult to accurately collect and report this information. For that reason, it is important to take most universal summaries with a grain of salt. Instead, they are best utilized for their trends–are things going up or down–rather than their “to the number” accuracy.

However, that is not to say that there are not helpful publications out there which attempt to explain the overall picture of nursing home care in Illinois with real statistics. Perhaps the most comprehensive of these is the annual report created by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to the General Assembly on the State of Long-Term Care. This report is required by the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, though the most current report available for viewing online is from 2010.