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Nursing homes in U.S. still need improvement, study suggests

Though most facilities have improved over the past three years in the U.S., the quality of nursing home care still continues to be a reported problem in more than 560 nursing homes in the country. Poor quality of care at these facilities can lead to nursing home negligence, causing Illinois patients and other patients in the U.S. to suffer further health complications or injuries. In some cases, poor quality of care can also result in the wrongful death of a nursing home resident.

A study conducted from federal data and an analysis by USA TODAY reveals surprising facts about the issue of nursing home care. A total of 51 nursing homes in the state of Illinois received a rating of one star from the federal government between 2009 and 2011. The rating means that these facilities are way below average in terms of care provided to patients when compared to other nursing homes in the state. The federal rating system began in 2008 and rates facilities from one to five, with five being the best.

The reasons for the poor ratings are sometimes due to unlicensed caregivers, negligence, a new director or administrator of the home, cleanliness issues and other issues at a facility that raise safety or health concerns.

Some nursing homes that routinely score low accuse the rating system to not factoring the complex care requirements their residents need and others accuse the system of being outdated.

One way the system allows for homes to improve ratings include decreasing the number of staff turnover. This gives the nurses the chance to better understand each resident’s needs and schedules as they work at the same facility for a longer period of time. Keeping the same nurses and substitutes responsible for the same patients can also help instead of routinely switching a nurse’s patients. In addition, homes can focus on ways to improve the quality of life for its patients in order to provide a better and safer facility for residents.

Failing to take this rating system seriously could cause nursing homes in Illinois to overlook some obvious or important changes that could be made in order to improve the quality of care being provided to patients. Failing to address any concerns could ultimately lead to negligence and harm the health of residents.

Source: USA Today, “As nursing home care improves, some problems slow to mend,” Paul Monies, Feb. 10, 2012


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