The truth about nursing homes is sobering. Though we assume that seniors in nursing homes or assisted living facilities receive a basic level of comfort and safety, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that in 2012 nearly 1-in-3 nursing homes were cited for violating federal standards over a two-year period, and over half of nursing home staff members admitted to mistreating senior residents over the prior year. When caregivers start the process of finding senior care options for their aging family members they need to evaluate information about each facility critically and carefully.
Abuse has always been a problem, but with today’s large population of aging seniors, in conjunction with the depressed economy, families really need to be diligent when finding nursing homes. In fact, according to Elder Care Attorney Rich McIver, whose law practice specializes in fighting nursing home elder abuse, “2012 is the worst year on record for nursing home violations.” McIver continues, “In terms of both the gross number of violations, and on a per capita basis, the quality of care provided at nursing homes is at its worst in decades.”
One common trait the worst nursing homes share is a failure to pass health and safety inspections. In order to receive Medicare and Medicaid services, nursing homes must pass these inspections and meet Congressional requirements for over 180 safety standards. Nursing homes that do not pass inspections violate the following standards:
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Medicare has partnered with state governments to inspect nursing homes and investigate complaints about specific facilities, and the results of these inspections are available in detail on the Medicare Nursing Home Compare website. Caregivers who are seeking assisted living options for seniors, or other types of senior living, may also want to contact the long-term care ombudsman for their state or region. A long-term care ombudsman is trained to assist seniors and caregivers in finding the right assisted living situation and avoiding the worst nursing homes.
Rick McIver provides three primary reasons why nursing home violations are so bad in 2012:
Millions of seniors suffer from elder abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and even violence in nursing homes and care facilities. Only 1 in 5 cases of physical elderly abuse are ever reported according to the NCEA, so caregivers must do their research in order to avoid the worst offenders . The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that the most common types of abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are:
Each month the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) publishes a list called the Special Focus Facility (SFF) of poorly performing nursing homes, based on the following criteria:
Learn about the Special Focus Facility (“SFF”) Initiative and get the June 2012 list of worst nursing homes as compiled by CMS.
If you are considering admission to a nursing home included on this list you may want to:
And get more information on nursing homes and finding the right care for your loved one.
Rich McIver is a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney with McIver Brown Law Firm. The firm represents the victims of nursing home abuse nationwide.
What are your thoughts surrounding this topic? Have you or a loved one experienced elder care abuse in nursing homes? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below…