legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Missouri Nursing Home Ratings & Safety Violation Information
According to the Medicare website, there are 525 nursing homes in Missouri. A large majority of these nursing homes provide care for their residents that merits average ratings at a minimum. However, these is a sizable minority of nursing homes that have received the one-star rating from Medicare. This is the lowest rating that a nursing home can receive and is indicative of the fact that there are either systemic issues at the facility, or there have been particular incidents that have drawn fines and other penalties. A total of 82 homes in Missouri have received the one-star rating. This is more than 15 percent of the nursing homes in the state. There have been many lawsuits against these nursing homes for abuse, neglect or other mistreatment.
Many nursing homes in Missouri have drawn the attention of regulators resulting in both fines and denial of payments from Medicare for new residents of the nursing home. Families of residents of these homes should be concerned as these skilled nursing facilities have been cited for a multitude of acts and omissions. Many of these Missouri nursing homes have been evaluated by Medicare as deficient in both the areas of health inspections and staffing.
Families who have loved ones residing at a nursing home in Missouri should review both the annual inspection reports as well as any reports of investigations resulting from complaints that have been filed against the facility where their family member resides. While you should always be vigilant about your loved ones care, the publicly available reports will give you an idea of where a nursing home has had critical care deficiencies. Many of these reports are summarized below.
To give you an idea of some of the lapses in care that can get a nursing home into trouble both legally and with regulators, here are five of the most common types of violations that are found in the inspection reports of Missouri nursing homes.
Failure to Protect Residents from Abuse and Failure to Investigate Allegations of Abuse
It goes without saying that nursing home staff must not commit any form of abuse against the residents, whether it be physical or emotional abuse. If your loved one has suffered abuse at a Missouri nursing home, you may have grounds for a legal claim. Not only do nursing homes have the basic obligation to refrain from mistreating their residents, but they also are required to investigate all claims of abuse and report them within two hours to the State of Missouri. Violations in this area include:
- Resident with Alzheimer’s allegedly left in a bathtub for over eight hours and dies (St. Sophia)
- Nursing home employee charged with alleged sexual abuse of three different residents (Crestwood Health Care Center)
- Resident pulled out their own dialysis catheter and bled to death as a result (St. Sophia)
- Staff did not intervene and immediately report the witnessed physical abuse of a resident by a staff member (The RiverView)
Failure to Prevent, Diagnose and Treat Pressure Ulcers
Otherwise known as bedsores, pressure ulcers occur when a resident is left in one position for too long. The continuous pressure on that area results in a breakdown of the skin. Left untreated, these can cause an infection or even worse. Pressure ulcers are mostly preventable. While some residents may get bedsores no matter what, shifting the resident’s position every two hours can help prevent them from developing. Then, if the resident does get a pressure ulcer, the doctor’s orders must be followed in treating them. Violations in this area include:
- After no skin assessments were documented for a period of three weeks, a resident was diagnosed with a Stage IV pressure ulcer, which is the most serious type (The RiverView).
- A resident had a bruise on their buttock. No further skin assessments were made and it developed into a Stage III pressure ulcer (U-City Forest Manor)
- Staff failed to treat existing pressure ulcers and prevent new pressure ulcers from forming (Life Care Center of Florissant)
- Facility did not adequately document the wound and notify the physician of the pressure ulcer (Parkwood Skilled Nursing)
Failure to Ensure That Services Provided by the Nursing Facility Meet Professional Standards of Quality
Both the medical care and the assistance with the activities of daily life require that a nursing home provide a reasonable level of care. Sometimes, nursing homes fail to provide their residents with the proper assistance, which can lead to a loss of dignity or risk of infection. This area is where a nursing home’s understaffing will be felt the most since there simply would not be enough nurses and CNAs to help the residents. Some of the violations in this area include:
- Failure to verify and follow physician’s orders before administering a narcotic medication (Gregory Ridge Healthcare Center)
- Failure to change oxygen tanks to ensure that the residents did not run out of oxygen (Garden Valley Healthcare Center)
- Administered oxygen without an order as to how many liters to give (Ashton Court Care and Rehabilitation Center)
- Giving a resident medication that had been dropped on the floor (Villages of Jackson Creek)
Failure to Assess a Significant Change in the Resident’s Condition
Those who have been committed to the care of a nursing home are in physical decline. It follows that illnesses and medical issues need to be caught early and treated. If not, the resident’s life is at risk since their immune systems and bodies are weakened. Staff must continuously care for and monitor these residents for any sign of illness and cannot simply ignore any evidence of a possible change in the resident’s condition.
Failure to Provide to Keep the Home Free of Accident Hazards and Provide Adequate Supervision to Prevent Avoidable Accidents
Nursing home residents, with their limited ability to care for themselves and ambulate, are more vulnerable to accidents and other mishaps. Given their condition, a fall can literally kill a resident by weakening their body. Nursing homes have a duty to maintain a safe environment for their residents. At the same time, they must give their residents adequate supervision so that they do not do anything that hurt themselves, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Some of the violations in this area include:
- Failed to provide protective oversight which prevented or minimized the possibility of elopement by a resident who had previously eloped from the facility three times (The RiverView)
- Failure to follow acceptable standards of practice when transferring residents (Hillside Manor)
- Failure to ensure that resident’s mattresses fit their beds and that there were fall mechanisms in place (Oakwood Estate Nursing and Rehabilitation Center)
Other Care Issues Involved in Missouri Nursing Homes
Some nursing homes are derelict in their basic duties to care for their residents. There have been violations that have involved an outright failure to perform what the facility’s job is. For example, there have been instances in which residents received one bath in a month. Alternatively, some nursing homes have had episodes where they made significant errors in administering residents’ medication. To read more about the care issues at nursing homes in Missouri, read the summaries of the care at many of the lower-rated nursing homes in Missouri that are laid out below. If you have any concerns about your loved one’s care, you should immediately contact a Missouri nursing home abuse lawyer.