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Nursing Homes Throughout the United States Fall Short of Standards

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Aug 21, 2017

Nursing homes have a high duty of care – after all, they are the facilities in which we trust our loved ones will receive the level of care that they both need and deserve. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work this way; nursing homes are guilty of neglect, abuse, and negligence, and every year, there are countless patients harmed in nursing homes throughout the United States.

A recent article published in The New York Times discusses the fact that patient care in nursing homes is poor, even when strict oversight has been implemented. Here’s what you need to know:

Special Focus Status – What it Is and What it Really Means

When a nursing home is guilty of a number of safety violations, it may be given “special focus status” by a state or federal oversight program. The status means that the nursing home is required to correct safety hazards and undergo inspections, or lose federal funding. The Times’ article explains that special focus status is one of the federal government’s “strictest forms of oversight.”

But what does special focus status really mean? Are nursing homes actually held accountable to the request that they make changes? Statistics reveal that this may not always be the case.

How Special Focus Status Affects Nursing Home Care

Unfortunately, special focus status may not have the effect it is intended to. To be sure, of 528 nursing homes throughout the United States that were put on, but then taken off of, special focus status prior to 2014 and are still functioning, more than half have caused a patient harm, or put a patient in serious jeopardy in the past three years. Types of errors and patient harm that have been reported include allowing patients to slip from their wheelchairs, resulting in injuries like broken hips; medication errors; and protecting patients from bullying from other residents. In one particularly disturbing store, a nursing home was fined nearly $60,000 for allowing the feeding tube of one patient to become infected with maggots.

In spite of these serious problems and incidences of patient harm, nursing homes are rarely denied federal funding.

Poor Nurse to Patient Ratio

One of the biggest problems in the nursing homes that have the worst ratings is that there are too few nurses assigned to provide care at the most troubled homes. Improve the nurse to patient ratio could help to alleviate problems and improve nursing home care.

Your Rights if a Loved One Is Harmed in a Nursing Home

In addition to the hundreds of dangerous nursing homes throughout the country, there are also plenty of very safe nursing homes too. However, errors and acts of nursing home malpractice have the potential to occur anywhere, and when they do and a nursing home resident is harmed, it is important that the resident or/and their family understand their right to legal recourse. At the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our experienced Philadelphia injury attorneys are here to help you. For a free consultation, contact us online or by phone today.

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