Even ‘Good’ Nursing Homes Can Have Episodes Involving Patient Injury

When selecting a nursing home for a loved one, families frequently go to great lengths to find the best facility.  Hours are frequently spent scouring the Internet looking for insights on particular facilities.  In many cases, visits are made to particular facilities all with the intention of finding the facility that best suits the needs of their loved one.

Episodes Involving Patient InjuryUnfortunately, statistics tell us that vigilant efforts and good intentions, may not be enough to protect their loved ones from potential harm.

After reading a recent article regarding Ohio nursing homes, I was again reminded that good intentions on the part of family members can only go so far and it is ultimately up to nursing home staff to provide a quality— and safe environment for patients.

After evaluating data compiled from nursing homes across Ohio over the past four years, the Hamilton JournalNews the following conclusions were reached:

  • 1 in 10 nursing homes has been cited for substandard care
  • Improper nursing home care has been attributed to the deaths of 22 patients
  • 42 nursing home patients were injured due to care violations
  • Violations and citations were broadly scattered among counties throughout the state

According to the director of the Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project at Miami University, Bob Applebaum, while problems may universally prevail across different types of nursing homes, there is still a difference in the way ‘good’ and ‘bad’ facilities respond to such problems.

There are instances where very good homes could have immediate jeopardy, and they’ll fix it immediately, according to Applebaum.

Unfortunaltely, he goes on to say that the unpredictability of these incidents still threatens a broad cross-section of patients, “[i]t’s just the bad luck of the draw.”

While I certainly commend facilities for taking swift corrective action when an error is made or a patient injury is reported, the above statistics are a reminder of just was how widespread problems in nursing homes have become.

If there’s anything to take from these somewhat discouraging statistics, I think that its important for families to remain vigilant in their loved ones care.  After all, families are in the best position to identify potential problems early on and can help prevent issues from escalating to a more serious nature.

For laws related to Ohio nursing homes, look here.

Related:

Deaths, injuries linked to nursing home care in state, The Oxford Press by Ben Sutherly and Hannah Poturalski, September 12, 2011

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