A joint study by researchers from The University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, John H. Stroger Hospital, The Social Policy Research Institute and Illinois Citizens for Better Care has found that the type of facility matters when it comes to the quality of care your elderly loved one is receiving.
Chicago Hospital Records Show Elder Neglect Happening in Nursing Homes
The study ‘Association between Type of Residence and Clinical Signs of Neglect in Older Adults,’ examined 5 metropolitan Chicago-area hospital records of 1,149 elderly patients admitted from long term care settings (nursing homes) and community settings (home, assisted living, or senior living facilities). The data revealed that for-profit nursing homes had more instances of clinical neglect than any other setting. The facilities responsible for the transfer of these residents to nursing homes were all metropolitan Chicago nursing homes.
The study relied on the Clinical Signs of Neglect Scale (CSNS), a tool that relies on health issues associated with elder neglect. The CSNS scale gives more weight to injuries that are most likely caused by neglect. Some injuries are difficult to positively link to neglect and are therefore given less weight. The study authors write “Clinical signs weakly associated with neglect such as malnutrition, dehydration, and urinary tract infections are assigned lower weights compared to clinical features more strongly indicative of neglect such as pressure ulcers, dehydration in patients with gastrostomy tubes, or broken catheters/tubes.”
Some, but not all of the other elements of neglect measured by the CSNS scale are:
- Patient has recurrent falls or serious injury from fall
- Single or multiple stage 1 and 2 decubitus ulcers (pressure sores/bed sores)
- Single or multiple stage 2 and 3 decubitus ulcers
- Poisoning as a result of a medication error
- Wound infection
- Blood infection
- Problems with urinary catheter: infrequent replacement, infection, broken, improper insertion)
- Problems with g or j tubes: infrequent replacement, infection at stoma, broken, improper insertion)
Study Finds Neglect Occurs Most Frequently in For-Profit Chicago Nursing Homes
The study relies on previous evidence that shows that the quality of care nursing home residents receive is influenced by things such as staffing, resident capacity, and employee training. The study also notes that shortcomings in these areas are linked to health issues such as bed sores, emergency room visits, and even death. The study also addresses previous findings that show for-profit nursing homes are more focused on the financial bottom line, paying higher salaries to their executive team, while spending less on staff and services that are essential to the health and well-being of nursing home residents.
In addition to examining previous findings, the researchers personally addressed staffing levels and patient capacity at the nursing homes from which residents had been transferred. In all, residents came from 105 Chicago-area nursing homes, 22 of which were non-profit and 83 for-profits. The study revealed that staffing levels were lower at for-profits, while the number of residents was also higher than at non-profits.
Researchers also evaluated the average number of cited survey deficiencies, such as “failure to report acts of abuse, neglect or mistreatment of residents; failure to hire personnel without known histories of abuse; failure to limit use of restraints to only cases required for medical treatment” in the year before, during, and after each patient’s hospital visit. This data revealed that the number of deficiencies was “substantially higher” in for-profit nursing homes vs. non-profit nursing homes.
Finally, the study found no statistical difference between resident neglect at for-profit nursing home that functioned independently vs. those who were part of a corporate chain of facilities.
Levin & Perconti: Chicago’s Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys
We are Levin & Perconti, a Chicago, Illinois personal injury law firm. We were one of the first in the nation to focus on the health and well-being of elders in nursing homes and have recovered over half a billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. If you suspect abuse or neglect of your loved one in a nursing home, please contact us now for a FREE consultation. We can be reached toll-free at 1-877-374-1417, in Chicago at 312-332-2872 or by completing our online case evaluation form.
The study can be found in its entirety here.