An estimated 1.3 million residents live in nursing homes in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number is only bound to grow as our elderly population rises. But when nearly 70% of the 15,600 nursing homes in the U.S. are owned by for-profit companies, the potential for elder abuse and neglect is high.
“Unfortunately, many of these facilities choose profits over people,” said John Dalli, a partner in the law firm Dalli & Marino, LLP. “One shortfall we see too often is a lack of essential staffing, which can lead to neglect and abuse resulting in serious injuries such as bedsores, falls, and medication errors.”
The United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers an extensive, helpful checklist on questions to ask when you’re searching for a nursing home for a parent. In this first article, we will cover the “basics” as well as general safety and care at a facility.
Type of Facility
- Is the nursing home Medicare certified?
- Is it also Medicaid certified? (Medicare only covers care from nursing homes that have passed a state agency inspection.)
- Are the nursing home and current administrator licensed in your state?
- What specialized services are offered, like a special care unit for a resident with dementia or ventilator care?
- Is the nursing home located close enough for friends and family to visit?
- Are there resident policies I must follow? Will I get a written copy of these policies?
- Are there extra charges for other services, like a beauty shop?
- Will the nursing home tell me in writing about their services, charges, and fees before I move into the home? Facilities certified by Medicare or Medicaid must share this information in writing. Get a copy of the fee schedule to find out which services are included, and which cost extra.
- Do you have to sign an arbitration agreement?
“Beware of forced arbitration clauses which allow a facility to avoid a lawsuit for damages if a resident is injured or harmed under their care,” said Dalli.
Safety and Care In the Facility
- Have you checked the nursing home’s star ratings on Medicare.gov?
- Is the nursing home taking action to improve any quality or staffing issues noted on the site?
- Can residents still see their personal doctors? If so, does the facility help arrange transportation?
- Does the nursing home have an arrangement with a nearby hospital?
- Are care plan meetings held with residents and family members at times that are convenient and flexible whenever possible?
- Ask for the nursing home’s state or federal inspection report. Does it show quality of care problems or other citations? (Note: These reports can also be found on most state survey agency websites and Medicare.gov.)
- Has the nursing home corrected all citations on its last state inspection report?
Our next article in this series will look at comparing the quality of staffing at nursing homes.
Contact Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Dalli & Marino
Since 1996, Dalli & Marino, LLP, has helped families recover millions of dollars in cases of neglect at nursing homes or other elder care facilities. Our team serves Suffolk and Nassau Counties (Long Island), Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Westchester County.
Please call our office today if you have questions about a loved one in a nursing home that may have experienced one of these issues at 1-888-465-8790 [Toll-Free] or complete the CASE EVALUATION FORM on our Contact Page.