Experienced Injury Lawyers

Beware Medicare Ratings for Nursing Homes

Published on Sep 2, 2014 at 8:47 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

It turns out that Medicare’s rating system for nursing homes is deeply flawed. A New York Times analysis has revealed that several of the factors are self-reported, unverified, and negative information, like complaints and state fines, are often not reflected.

Skewed Ratings?

Patients and families are not getting the whole picture and sometimes appear to be getting a distorted picture. The Medicare ratings – one to five stars – are supposed to reflect a home’s quality in three areas. The Medicare.gov website describes those categories as follows:

1. Health Inspections rating:
These ratings are based on the three most recent, comprehensive inspections annually, as well as inspections due to complaints in the last three years. We place more emphasis on the more recent inspections.

2. Quality Measures (QM) rating:
Combining the values of nine QMs (a subset of the 19 QMs listed on Nursing Home Compare) we create the QM rating. QMs are derived from clinical data reported by the nursing home.

Choosing Nursing Homes For Dementia Patients

Published on Aug 29, 2014 at 8:18 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

KY Nursing Home AttorneyAlmost half of all nursing home residents suffer from dementia, primarily caused by Alzheimer’s disease. It can be tricky for loved ones to find the right placement. Even though most homes now have dementia units or wings, experts say the quality and culture can vary greatly.

The Alzheimer’s Association, a national organization, reports that special care dementia units are one of the fastest growing parts of the nursing home business. Security is always a paramount concern, though each unit will use different strategies. There’s always a danger that dementia patients will wander off the grounds, and not know how to get back. Some facilities lock the doors to residents’ rooms at nights, or even tie them to their beds – others use innovative approaches like “wander guards” that set off alarms if patients leave designated areas.

While one of the primary purposes of dementia units is to keep patients from wandering, dementia patients have other special needs as well. A New York Times article highlights some of the other factors to consider when choosing a dementia unit. They include:

  • Treatment strategies – Medical staff may rely too heavily on drugs, such as sedatives or antipsychotics to calm agitated patients. Agitation can often be a symptom of an underlying problem, such as pain or anxiety, so be sure the unit staff looks at the whole patient before turning to drugs too quickly.

Nursing Homes – Developing a “Household” Model

Published on Aug 8, 2014 at 8:01 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

It’s no secret that most nursing homes are designed like institutions. Long hallways with residents lined up in a row; their meals, exercise, and everyday life is planned according to one fixed schedule.

The July Issue of Atlantic Magazine features a new type of nursing home, called the “household model.”  With the current model, you have long wings where rooms are, and then one giant eating area and one entry/main room that could rarely be described as “homey”.

The new idea is to cluster residents around a common living room and eating area. This would be smaller groups, ranging from four people in a unit the size of a small house, or larger groups of about 20, in what’s called a “household group.”

Two Studies Rank Kentucky Among the Worst for Elder Care

Published on Aug 4, 2014 at 8:30 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

Two new studies paint a bad picture for Kentucky and its quality of elder care. Both the AARP and the United Health Foundation rank Kentucky among the worst states in long-term care and/or quality of life for people over 65.

AARP Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard

AARP just released its second edition of the State Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Scorecard; the first edition was released in 2011. Each state was ranked according to five dimensions:

  1. affordability and access,
  2. choice of setting and provider,
  3. quality of life and quality of care,
  4. support for family caregivers, and
  5. effective transitions.

Each of the five dimensions has 3-6 indicators within it.

Kentucky Nursing Homes Fined for Safety Violations

Published on Jul 2, 2014 at 8:58 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

After Masonic Home of Louisville was fined $413,173.00 by the Federal Government for safety violations in 2013, nursing homes in Kentucky continue to perform poorly in the eyes of the Federal Government. Kentucky has had three nursing homes fall within the top 15 highest fined nursing homes in the country. Princeton Health and Rehab Center in Princeton, Kentucky, the fourth highest fined nursing home in the country, racked up Federal fines of $560,138.00. Two other nursing homes in Kentucky, Charleston Health Care Center and Tradewater Point were fined $486,071.00 and $483,600.00 respectively.

Unfortunately, the heavy fines were not limited only to nursing homes in Kentucky. The neighboring state of Tennessee was also hit especially hard with sanctions. Four nursing homes in Tennessee landed in the top 15 of highest fined nursing homes in the country. Bradley Health Care and Rehab came in at number one in the nation with a whopping $693,250.00 in fines. Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation – Maryville was also in the top 15 with $543,383.00 in fines. Other offenders include the Center on Aging and Health ($504,335.00) and Fort Sanders Sevier Nursing Home ($498,355.00). Together, Kentucky and Tennessee combined account for 7 of the top 15 highest fined nursing homes in the country and 20 of the top 50 highest fined nursing homes. The rankings and information can be found at https://data.medicare.gov/Nursing-Home-Compare/Penalty-Counts/t8q7-k6ku.