Throughout the country, there are almost 15,000 nursing homes that accept payments and benefits from Medicaid and Medicare. Out of those homes, almost 10,000 are for-profit facilities, 4,000 are non-profit, and 1,000 are owned by the government. These facilities will have 100 to 200 beds on average, with the next highest amount of beds in a nursing home being 50 to 99 beds. To receive benefits from Medicaid and Medicare, nursing homes need to follow strict guidelines set by the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).
Every facility is then rated based on their performance in different factors such as Quality Measures, Staffing, and Health inspections. Here, we discuss some of the most common violations of abuse and neglect committed by nursing home facilities, along with how the Trump administration has cut fines for the health violations that occur in nursing homes.
Failure to Conduct Health Inspections
With hundreds of elderly living in such close quarters, illness can spread quickly. Because of this, nursing homes can be fined for not keeping their facilities clean or when equipment isn’t properly sterilized. Every nurse needs to meet basic health requirements while being able to administer the right medication in proper doses. In addition, drugs need to be appropriately labeled, separated, and locked. Finally, Inspectors will often look to the residents’ right to be in a safe environment, free from neglect and abuse, while getting the right dietary standards, nutrition, and pharmaceutical standards.
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Failure to Monitor Their Patients
If there is an elderly member at risk of falling, the nursing home is responsible for taking certain measures. For example, there should be more extensive monitoring for that patient, to make sure that they don’t fall from dizziness due to medication side effects and other factors. Research has shown that 16% to 27% of falls in nursing homes occur because of hazards in their environments such as slippery floors and poor lighting. As such, nursing homes must provide their residents with a safe environment, which includes installing handles and safety rails for their residents to hold onto.
Failure to Get Enough Staff
According to experts, nurse staffing has the biggest impact on the quality of life provided to residents in nursing homes. A low staff count can contribute to the poor care of the elderly where they may not get their medication, food, and bathroom break on time. In addition, staff may not provide residents with the attention to look for symptoms of illness or watch for fall risks. Furthermore, homes with overworked nurses are typically stressed, overworked, and more susceptible to making mistakes. As a result, nursing homes that hire more staff have fewer instances of their residents being hospitalized.
Cutting Fines for Health Violations in Nursing Homes
Unfortunately, the Trump administration has decided to lower the fines for nursing homes that are found to have injured or endangered residents. According to federal records, the average fine went from $41,260 in 2016 during President Obama’s last year in office, to $28,405 under Trump’s leadership. The director of public policy and advocacy at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, Robyn Grant, commented; “When that’s not the case and the fine is inconsequential, care generally doesn’t improve.”
What to Do If You Suspect Neglect
If you suspect neglect, contact Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault for a free consultation at 419-843-6663 or find us online. Discuss your situation with an experienced Ohio and Michigan personal injury attorney.
Michael Bell, is Partner and Personal Injury Attorney at GT&B since 2007. His entire career has been committed to protecting the rights of those injured through no fault of their own. Mike concentrates his practice in the areas of car wrecks, trucking accidents, medical negligence, wrongful death, birth injuries, defective products, nursing home abuse & neglect, dog bites, construction accidents and slip & falls.