Is Your Loved One’s Nursing Home Providing Acceptable Care?
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Feb 16, 2021 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Nursing homes have historically struggled to meet or maintain acceptable standards for residents under their care. Understaffing, abusive caregivers, financial fraud, medication errors and more are all too common problems at many long-term care facilities.
Does this mean you should not place your loved one in long-term care? If your family member is already in a nursing home, is he or she being well-cared for? How can you be certain any type of assisted living facility will provide a clean and safe environment for your family member?
In short, it is impossible to know for sure. PSKD discusses nursing homes today, long-term care in a pandemic world and tools to assist families concerned about seeking care for loved ones now.
Call our firm to learn if you may have a case. Initial, no-obligation consultations are free and confidential.
Longstanding Nursing Home Issues
It would be difficult to fully list all of the longstanding nursing home issues that regularly impact the level of care for residents. However, some of the most common and ongoing concerns include:
Primarily due to the low wages, understaffing also leads to a high turnover. Additionally, having too few caregivers per patient increases the risk for many other issues, such as:
- Medication errors
- Poor hygiene
- Patients who wander off and get injured
- Malnutrition and Dehydration
- Higher percentage of mistakes
- Unattended patients suffering cuts, bruises and fractures after falling
- Increased likelihood of emotional or physical abuse by overstretched caregivers
Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases
Nursing homes already had difficulties containing the spread of infectious diseases before the pandemic hit. The onset of a pandemic, like COVID-19, only magnified existing problems. In addition to inadequate staffing ratios, the lack of PPE, absence of sick pay benefits and multiple super-spreader caregivers – those who work at multiple facilities – practically ensures the spread of infection.
Multiple violations that further impact many nursing homes' ability to either prevent or control the spread of any infectious disease, include:
- Poor education or failure to follow handwashing best practices
- Lack of oversight to ensure caregivers change soiled gloves or wear PPE
- Failure to properly disinfect equipment
- Failure to distribute clean linens hygienically
- Failure to properly isolate infected residents
- And more
According to ProPublica, an independent investigative news source, as many as 43 percent of nursing homes pushed back for years against federal requirements to create an emergency preparedness plan. Not surprisingly, many of these same facilities have had high instances of coronavirus cases and deaths since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a recent NBC news article, the accountability for the 106,000 residents and nursing home staff – as of December 4, 2020 - who died from COVID-19, rests on many shoulders. While some deaths were expected, the unbelievably high proportion – 39 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. – was not. This is largely due to inadequate government oversight and a total lack of accountability in nursing homes.
Nursing homes, especially early on, neglected their duty for transparency with regard to:
- Communicating with families about how their loved ones were doing
- Their ability to access PPE
- How they were implementing infection control management
Tools That May Help
Questions remain concerning how family members can check on the condition of a loved one – and what his or her facility is doing to provide care and prevent the spread of infection. For others, the concern may be how to find a nursing home that will provide the level of care their family member needs.
Wherever you place your loved one, it is important to maintain consistent contact. While visitation may still be unavailable, you can speak with your loved one through phone calls or video chats to encourage them and see how they are doing.
In addition to regular contact, some tools that can help you to better understand a facility’s ability to provide an acceptable standard of care include:
- AARP Questionnaire: A list of questions created to provide families with insight about how a facility handles infectious diseases, like COVID-19. Use these and add questions of your own. Document your answers and who you spoke with.
- CMS Nursing Home Compare: Recently updated, Medicare has renamed the site Care Compare. This tool now combines all eight areas of Medicare & Medicaid’s former Compare sites, including nursing homes.
- Pro Publica’s Nursing Home Inspect: An independent tool, this database provides information on more than 80,000 nursing homes – including their inspection report history. Using this search tool, you can investigate a nursing home’s violation history, along with other trends or patterns.
Trusted Legal Help For Residents Injured Due to Nursing Home Negligence
Your family member in a nursing home deserves to be treated with dignity and receive care that meets all acceptable standards.
Our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers are knowledgeable and prepared to help. We have extensive experience handling both nursing home abuse and negligence cases, and we are prepared to fight for maximum compensation for our clients.
While there is no obligation, if you choose to hire us and we represent you, there is nothing for you to pay until your case concludes. We do not collect our fees unless we obtain compensation for you.
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