Each Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer at our firm knows that instances of misconduct and harmful neglect are not randomly scattered across all local long-term care facilities. Instead, there is often a considerable gap between the best performing nursing homes and the worst. Those at the bottom are frequently the site of nursing home neglect that leads to serious injury and death of residents that could and should have been prevented.
One of the best ways for local residents to learn about the quality of facilities in which their loved one lives or that they are considering is the U.S. Government’s “Nursing Home Compare” website. The tool ranks all long-term care facilities on a range of factors. Each home is also given an overall rating (between 1 and 5 stars) which tracks their overall performance on a range of different criteria. It is important to remember that some of the data used in the analysis is self-reported. That means that the federal body which compiles the list uses information voluntarily given to them by the nursing home without actual proof. While this does not automatically undermine the merit of the ranking, it is important to remember that it likely influences the overall extent to which the ranking reflect actual care. In other words, while the rankings are helpful to compare one facility to another, they may paint a rosier picture of each facility overall than reality would suggest.
This week a story in the USA Today talked about the trends in nursing home rankings in recent years. It was noted that there are currently over 560 homes than have had the lowest ranking (1 star) for three years running. These represent the chronically deficient nursing homes. One CEO of a non-profit facility summarized the situation, noting, “Nobody wants to see consistent one stars; they give everybody a bad name. You’d like think the marketplace would deal with it and residents wouldn’t get placed there, but sometimes they don’t have a choice.”
The report found that, overall, nursing homes nationwide are slightly improving the care that they provide according to measures used in compiling the federal report. However, while some locations are improving others are languishing. The trend lines differ wildly from home to home. Among those stuck at the lowest rating, more than 2/3 of them were for-profit facilities owned by nursing home chains. This is much higher than the actual percentage of homes which are for-profit-even more evidence that private homes do a worse job of providing care, on average, then their non-profit counterparts.
Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys appreciate that many residents in our area are given few options when it comes to where their loved ones are sent when they need close around-the-clock care. Yet, just because one is forced to live in a mediocre facility does not mean that they must simply accept lapses in care. Even one-star facilities are held to the same standard of reasonable care as five star homes. If you believe that a loved one has been hurt because of negligent nursing home care, please get in touch without our nursing home neglect lawyers to see how we can help.
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