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Category Archives: Levels of Care

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Will Tort Reform Affect Nursing Home Care?

Posted in Legislation, Legislation Watch, Levels of Care, News, Nursing Home Information

The latest tort reform measure, H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, would place caps on medical malpractice damages, limit attorney fees, and modify statutes of limitations. Among other changes to current law, non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits would be limited to $250,000 – and juries would not be informed of… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Nursing Homes Often Understaffed

Posted in Levels of Care

In its five-part “Failing the Frail” series, a PennLive investigation reveals the 18 most understaffed Pennsylvania nursing homes. The series includes an interactive map to search for staffing levels of individual nursing homes. Based on PennLive’s analysis of 559 facilities, nursing homes in Pennsylvania provided residents with an average of only 3.6 hours of care… Continue Reading

Newspaper Highlights Problems with PA Nursing Homes

Posted in Documentation & Reporting, Elder Issues, Levels of Care, Nursing Home Information

Special kudos to the Reading Eagle on its recent series on nursing homes – in particular the editorial We Must Demand Better from Nursing Homes, Regulators, published on December 11, 2016. For those of us who work hard to hold nursing home corporations accountable when seniors are neglected, abused, seriously injured, or die, this series… Continue Reading

Patient Dumping and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA)

Posted in Levels of Care

During much of the 20th century, hospitals did not have a duty to treat patients who entered emergency departments. Without any given reason, they could refuse to treat certain patients. The practice of “patient dumping” arose from that lack of duty. Patient dumping refers to situations when hospitals deny emergency medical screening and stabilization services…. Continue Reading

New Jersey Looks to Improve Staffing Ratios

Posted in Elder Issues, Legislation, Levels of Care, News

Often, many of the problems that occur in nursing homes are a direct result of terribly insufficient staffing. This knowledge is born out in studies that show a direct correlation between staffing ratios and quality of care. Despite all of this clear evidence, many facilities only meet the bare minimum hours required under state regulation. Some… Continue Reading

Troubled Nursing Homes with History of Poor Care Make Special Government List

Posted in Levels of Care, Nursing Home Information

Recently, the August 2015 Special Focus Facility List was published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS regularly visits nursing homes to assure that they are administering the quality of care that Medicare and Medicaid require. With these regular visits, the CMS will identify any deficiencies in the quality of care… Continue Reading

False Nursing Home Staffing Levels Cause Families to Unwittingly Subject Residents to Poor Care

Posted in Documentation & Reporting, Elder Issues, Injuries, Levels of Care, Nursing Home Information

When deciding whether to place a loved-one into a nursing home, families attempt to determine whether the nursing home is capable of providing the necessary quality care. Most families visit the nursing home, as well as check the U.S. government’s Nursing Home Compare tool at Medicare.gov. Despite their efforts, some nursing homes have purposefully misrepresented… Continue Reading

Assisted Living Facilities Must Not Expose Residents to Unnecessary Risks of Harm

Posted in Elder Issues, Levels of Care, Nursing Home Information

In New Jersey, Assisted Living encompasses providing various coordinated supportive personal and health services, available 24 hours per day, to residents who need those services. Its purpose is to promote resident self-direction and participation in decisions, with an emphasis on independence, individuality, privacy, dignity, and homelike surroundings. And thus, corporations that operate Assisted Living Facilities… Continue Reading

New Article Slams Harborview Nursing Home for Rodents

Posted in Documentation & Reporting, Elder Issues, Levels of Care, Nursing Home Information

Harborview, a defendant in a case we took to trial last year, is back in the news.  During the trial, the ownership and management spoke of the facility in glowing terms – terms that were contradicted by state inspections and other testimony.  The article recounts rodent problems – and even chronicles a resident that bought… Continue Reading

Neglect and Poor Care Linked to Urinary Tract Infections in Nursing Homes

Posted in Elder Issues, Levels of Care, Nursing Home Information

Urinary Tract Infections, or UTIs, are a common complaint among families with a mom or dad in long-term care.  UTIs can be dangerous.  First, UTIs can become a serious infection if untreated.  However, UTIs also lead to falls, because UTIs cause people to feel as if they have to go to the bathroom constantly –… Continue Reading

Welcome Reform Measures to Correct Questionable Self Reporting Staffing Levels in Nursing Homes

Posted in Documentation & Reporting, Elder Issues, Levels of Care, Nursing Home Information

As an advocate in New Jersey  for nursing home residents, one of my greatest frustrations has been the lack of oversight for self reported staffing levels.  This has lead to an extraordinarily low incidence of short staffing citations – and worse yet, has allowed some understaffed facilities to crow over their lack of such citations…. Continue Reading

Front-Line Healthcare Workers: The Most Important Resource in Delivering Quality Care

Posted in Elder Issues, Levels of Care

Nursing homes, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, must maintain enough nursing staff to provide nursing care, and related services, to their residents to maintain the residents’ physical, mental, and social well-being. In facilities across New Jersey and Pennsylvania, front-line workers make-up the primary healthcare personnel responsible for delivering that care and service to the resident…. Continue Reading

Major For-Profit Nursing Home Chains Remain “Highly Profitable” Despite Medicare Cuts

Posted in Levels of Care, News, Nursing Home Information

Families for Better Care – a citizen’s advocacy organization – showed in a recent study that the largest publicly traded nursing home chains remained very profitable despite Medicare payment cuts last year. The director of Families for Better Care, Brian Lee, believes that the profits are driven by lower nursing hours and less care based on a study conducted last fall.

Never Events, Pressure Ulcers and Hospital Safety

Posted in Injuries, Levels of Care, News

I just happened upon an excellent website (http://www.neverevents.org/), promoting the value of 11 years of “Never Events” as establishing safer practices in our hospitals. This site is authored by a physician and notes that another physician, Ken Kizer, MD, former CEO of the non-profit, National Quality Forum (NQF), first introduced this term in 2001.

New Study States That Antidepressants Increase the Risk of Falls in Nursing Home Patients with Dementia

Posted in Elder Issues, Injuries, Levels of Care, Nursing Home Information

A new study confirms that a large percentage of nursing home residents are prescribed anti-depressants, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). While in most cases, anti-depressants are beneficial to the well being of the residents, in patients suffering from dementia, they can significantly increase the risk of falls – leading to serious injuries, and even death.

Simple Tools to Prevent Bed Sores Found to be Cost Effective

Posted in Elder Issues, Injuries, Levels of Care, Nursing Home Information

While nursing homes should always look to prevent bed sores – a painful and sometimes deadly condition – a recent study conducted revealed that the prevention of bed sores is also cost effective. Foam mattresses which reduce pressure were found to be cost-effective 82% of the time as opposed to using standard mattresses. This simple change could save on average $115 per resident. Additionally, foam cleansers for incontinence were found to be cost-effective 94% of the time, as opposed to traditional soap and water, which results in an average savings of $179 per resident.