Having to put a loved one in a nursing home is one of the hardest decisions any family can make. Unfortunately, it is too often necessary and sometimes happens with little time for research. No one wants to put a family member in a situation where they are in danger or may receive sub-par care.
Now, there is a new tool that can make this difficult decision a little bit easier. It couldn’t arrive at a better time since nursing home complaints have risen steadily over the past several years.
For years, Nursing Home Compare at Medicare.gov has allowed viewers to compare nursing homes around the country. Previously, the public was on its own when it came to a facility’s abuse history on the website, but that has now changed.
A new red icon added next to a nursing home name signals it is one of the approximately 5 percent of all nursing homes with multiple abuse and neglect citations. Currently, 760 such facilities possess this scarlet symbol, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Thorough Inspection Reports
The red icon does not exist in a vacuum. Click on it, and you can find detailed inspection reports by government investigators, providing details of complaints. If a nursing home has received an abuse complaint and the investigation validated it within the past year, the red icon is attached.
The same holds true for those facilities in which an investigation reveals that potential harm could have occurred to residents within the previous two years. If a facility goes through an entire year with no further citations, the red icon is removed. The site is updated monthly.
A Pennsylvania nursing home received the red icon after the investigation of the death of a 95-year old man with dementia. He got into a fight with another man in a wheelchair who also suffered from cognitive impairment. A state investigator recounted a nurse’s aide’s testimony, in which she saw blood all over and the victim yelling that the other man was trying to kill him. The investigator determined the staff could have prevented the incident.
No one at a Maryland nursing home bothered to report that a cancer patient had maggots in a facial wound. In Massachusetts, a woman was removed from a nursing home and taken to the emergency room after her daughter noticed she had significant bruising on her upper body.
The woman, who was unable to speak, apparently was in that condition for two days and the staff neither reported nor did anything about it. A video from that same nursing home showed another resident dragged into the dayroom, only to be left without supervision.
Nursing Home Responses
Of course, no nursing home wants that red icon next to its name –it is definitely bad for business. Nursing home executives criticize this new tool by stating it could cause “unnecessary worry” for residents’ families, among other excuses.
They also say that the definition of abuse is too vague, and there are no uniform state inspection standards. The bottom line is that nursing homes violating federal standards are ineligible for Medicaid and Medicare funding.
Far more nursing home abuse and neglect goes on than is ever reported. Just because a nursing home does not have a red icon next to it does not mean it is a fine facility. Still, the use of this tool could prevent the worst from happening to a loved one requiring care.
If you or a family member suffered a fall and was seriously injured or is being neglected in a nursing home, convalescent center or long-term living facility, call us today. All consultations are free, without obligation and confidential. We consider cases nationwide.
For more information, contact us online or by phone at 833.201.1555. We also invite you to download or free eBook on How to Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence or Abuse.