As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, many families in the U.S. are likely to face difficult decisions about nursing home care. Although many facilities provide the medical treatment and day-to-day activities that elderly patients need to thrive, others, including some in Ohio, fall short. Indeed, instances of nursing home abuse and neglect are far too common.
Recently, the nonprofit group Families for Better Care released a report providing grades for each state according to the level of nursing home care residents receive. Although Ohio received a passing grade of ‘C’, the reality is that there is room for significant improvement.
In determining its grades, Families for Better Care complied information from sources including the Kaiser Health Foundation and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare. The grade was based not only on factors such as the number of registered nurses and certified nurse assistants per resident, but also on the percentage of passing health inspections and the number of reported abuse and neglect cases.
Overall, Ohio ranked 30th out of all 50 states in key metrics. Ohio’s numbers were significantly better than the lowest ranked states, Indiana, Louisiana and Texas, but were far worse than Alaska and Rhode Island, the highest ranked states.
Even among states that received high grades, the Families for Better Care report uncovered some disturbing trends. First, it is clear that residents are not receiving the individualized attention they need in all circumstances. Only a handful of states provided residents in managed care facilities with more than one hour of nursing care each day. In nearly every state, residents received less than three hours of direct care each day.
Second, and perhaps most disturbingly, in half the states, 20 percent of nursing homes were cited for incidents of abuse or neglect. Approximately 90 percent of all nursing homes across the U.S. were cited for some sort of deficiency, be it abuse or negligent medical care.
Because abuse, neglect and substandard care are so common, it is important for families to check frequently on loved ones who are currently in nursing homes. They should watch for unexplained bumps or bruises and should watch carefully how staff members interact with residents. In many cases, the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is made out of necessity. Staying vigilant can help ensure that they receive the level of care they need and deserve.