Nursing home abuse is a national epidemic affecting millions of our most vulnerable citizens. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that between one and two million Americans aged 65 and older have been exploited, injured, or mistreated by someone they depend on for care.
More than 1.5 million Americans live in nursing homes. All homes are inspected once a year and must meet federal standards in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
In 2008, the New York Times reported that 94 percent of U.S. nursing homes were cited for violating health standards. While most of these citations were for minor infractions or isolated incidents, around 17 percent of the homes had deficiencies that caused "actual harm or immediate jeopardy" to patients.
For-profit nursing homes were more likely to have a higher number of deficiencies than other types of nursing homes. Researchers also found that people received better care at homes with a higher ratio of nursing staff to patients.
In 2008, the Bush administration set up a five-star rating system for nursing homes. The ratings can be found athttp://www.medicare.gov/NursingHomeCompare/. Just a quick search for your town or zip code can provide you with ratings for all of the nursing facilities in your area. Ratings categories include health inspection results, staffing hours for nurses, and quality of life assessments based on resident surveys. An overall rating of five stars means that a home is "much above average." Four star indicates "above average" and three stars means "average." Anything below three stars, and you should probably mark that home off of your list.
Before entrusting your loved ones to any nursing facility, it's important to make sure that the facility meets federal and state standards. Our elders deserve respect and quality care. Nursing homes that don't offer residents dignity and comfort should be reported immediately.
If one of your family members has suffered abuse at the hands of a negligent or poorly-maintained nursing home, contact the Kyle Law Firm today and receive the justice that your family deserves.