A new report released by federal regulators indicates that the percentage of nursing homes that receive spotless deficiency records is increasing. That means, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, that nursing home residents may be receiving better care on the whole.
Of course, that’s not to say nursing home abuse, neglect and negligence is no longer a problem. Indeed, relatives and loved ones must still remain vigilant.
But the latest information from the Nursing Home Data Compendium for 2015 is encouraging in some aspects.
The mean number of deficiencies (or instances in which the nursing homes fell short of providing base-level care for residents) was at 6.6 in 2005. This crept up to 7.2 the following two years, but since then, has been trending downward. In 2014, there were a mean number of 5.7 nursing home deficiencies.
And when researchers looked at the scope and severity of those safety issues, they found there too that there had been a decline. From 2005 to 2007, between 4.7 and 4.9 percent of all deficiencies were serious, meaning nursing home residents were in immediate danger. By 2014, that figure dipped to 3.2 percent.
Florida’s mean number of deficiencies over all facilities was exactly in line with the national average: 6.2.
The number of nursing homes that were deficiency-free between 2009 and 2014 increased from 8.8 percent to 10.2 percent. Similarly, the percentage of nursing homes that were cited for substandard quality of care also fell.
In Florida, the percentage of deficiency-free nursing homes has overall been lower than the national average. Where it was 8.8 percent nationally in 2009, it was just 4 percent in Florida. And when the national rates improved to 10.2 percent being deficiency-free, Florida’s crept up to 6.7 percent. That’s better than some: Alaska and D.C. have not a single nursing home that is deficiency-free and Maryland has just 1 percent. But then we look at states like Rhode Island – 36 percent deficiency-free, North Carolina, 28 percent, Massachusetts, 27.5 percent – and we know we can do better.
Plus, we may be going through a bit of a lull, and perhaps the calm before the storm. Researchers concluded that the number of nursing homes overall has declined over the last decade. There were 16,032 in 2005. That number fell to 15,640 by 2014. But our population is rapidly aging, and we are going to need more of these facilities to accommodate.
Plus, Florida only has 10 to 25 nursing home beds per 1,000 people over the age of 65, which is not going to be enough to meet the demand in the future. We also have one of the lowest rates in the country to meet the demand for persons over the age of 85 – 109 to 218 beds per 1,000 in this cohort – which is among the lowest in the country.
Included in this research was a list of the most commonly-cited health deficiencies at nursing homes between 2005 and 2014. Among the most commonly-cited:
- Failure to store and cook food in a clean and safe way.
- Failure to make sure the facility is free from accident hazards.
- Failure to provide adequate supervision to prevent accidents.
- Failure to provide patients with necessary care in order to improve their well-being.
- Failure to have a program that investigates, monitors and controls infections.
Our Orlando nursing home injury lawyers know: These are some pretty substantial failures.
Other problems include prevalence of restraint use, pressure ulcers, unintended weight loss and use of antipsychotic drugs on individuals with moderate to severe impairments in cognitive status.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Nursing Home Data Compendium for 2015 , Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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