Unfortunately, at many facilities this stigma is indeed accurate and reinforced on a daily basis as patients are essentially molded into complying with a program that is geared towards efficiency and cost-reduction.
Could the institutional approach to nursing home care be on the way out?
A new program proposed by an advisory counsel aims to improve the quality of life for many patients living in Ohio Nursing Homes by encouraging nursing homes to incorporate quantifiable quality measures or risk a reduction in their reimbursement rates.
Many of the proposed quality improvements include:
- Flexibility as to bed time and wake up
- Flexibility with bathing or showering
- Limit the use of facility-wide paging to emergencies
- Varied meal times
While the proposals obviously seem to empower patients with more options, officials are optimistic that the quality measures will also serve to promote better patient care with lower rates of staff turnover, a systemic problem that is commonly associated with patient abuse and neglect.
For nursing homes that receive payments from Medicaid (which funds about 70% of Ohio nursing homes) the plan would penalize facilities that opt not to comply with the proposals. As proposed, facilities failing to achieve at least five of the quality measures would lose $16.44 in government funding per day for each patient.
I look forward to monitoring this important proposal that aims to improve the quality of life for thousands of nursing home patients in Ohio. Hopefully, other states will take notice and begin to incorporate similar measures as the need to improve patient care has never been greater.
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