According to a report from the General Accounting Office (GAO), Illinois ranks has some of the worst nursing homes in the country. After analyzing factors such as: staffing levels, prevention of bed sores (also called: pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers) and prevention of abuse, the GAO report determined that 47 Illinois Nursing Homes are among the group of facilities categorized as ‘most poorly’ performing.
The GAO report makes several suggestions to improve nursing home care:
Expand the federal program monitoring nursing homes.
Currently, there are 136 nursing homes across the country labeled as Special Focus Facilities (that are subject to increased inspections), the list would be substantially expanded to 580 nursing homes.
Use a national comparison for nursing homes.
A national comparison of nursing homes would allow authorities to more accurately track troubled facilities– regardless of their location. The current system uses a state-by-state comparison that does not accurately reflect states with disproportionally bad nursing homes such as Illinois.
I’m all for making the selection of a nursing home easier for families. Of course, families will still need to do their homework when selecting facilities for their loved ones, but by identifying these poorly performing facilities, families can at least learn of a facilities troubles before placing a loved one there.
Compared with ‘average’ nursing homes, patients at poorly performing facilities were 46% more likely to harmed as a result of serious deficiencies compared with their peers at more successful facilities.
For the facilities, hopefully being publicly branded as a ‘poorly performing facility’ will motivate them to make changes and improve their facilities.
Lastly, it is important to look at the similarities amongst the facilities on ‘most poorly’ performing list. These similarities are not mere coincidences. As more people become aware of these trends they will be able to make better choices in selecting a facility for their loved ones. Troubled facilities tend to:
- Be larger, more than 102 patients per nursing home
- Run as ‘for-profit’ entities
- Part of large corporate chains
- Have lower staffing ratios than their peers
Special Focus Facility Initiative and List – updated September 22, 2009
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