State Of Nursing Homes From A ‘Nursing Home Reform Activist’

State Of Nursing HomesSometimes it’s important to gain insight on topics from people who have lived though experience.  Today’s entry regarding the state of nursing homes comes from a person who has channeled his personal frustration with nursing home care into helping others.

Who are you and what type of work do you do?

My name is Dave Poland and I’m the son of a mother who suffered much during the nearly five years she lived in nursing homes in Kentucky and Indiana. I consider myself a “nursing home reform activist” and maintain a blog to challenge the status quo of the nursing home industry ( My mother passed away January 1, 2009 and I believe nursing home neglect directly contributed to her death. The day before my mother passed away, I promised her that I would work tirelessly for improvement in the quality of nursing home care so that no other nursing home resident would have to suffer like she did.

What are some positive trends (if any) in the nursing home industry?

The Eden Concept of nursing home care has the potential to improve the quality of care of residents because is clearly is resident-centered/focused, but because it advocates smaller facilities (with 20 residents or less), I fear that the big, greedy long-term care corporations will never get on the bandwagon and create nursing homes in this style.

What are some negative trends (if any) in the nursing home industry?

The biggest negative trend has to be the growth of large, multi-state for-profit nursing home chains. They’ve gobbled up many excellent facilities that were previously either non-profit or at least not
driven to produce MORE profit than these big corporations. Whenever a large for-profit corporation is involved it appears the quality of care suffers, especially in states (like Indiana and Kentucky) where
there are no minimum staffing requirements for nurses and CNAs.

What correlation do you see with respect to the national trends in the nursing home industry and the impact on patient care?

The trend, if you want to call it that, is placing facility profit above quality of care.

How would you compare the nursing homes of today vs. those of 20 years ago?

The impression I get is that 20 years ago they were better staffed (in terms of resident-to-staff ratios) and were controlled more locally rather than by some outrageously large and impersonal out-of-state

What suggestions do you have for families when it comes to selecting a facility for their loved ones?

Talk to your local long-term care Ombudsman BEFORE you make a decision — if you have the time to talk to them first (often times circumstances don’t allow talking to them first). Ombudsmen often know all the important things that need to be known about nursing homes within their service area.

Three words to describe nursing homes: ____, _____, _____

Greedy. Impersonal. Dishonest.

You can learn more about Dave Poland and the work he does at his blog Nursing Home Reality. Thank you for your thoughts Dave!

For laws related to Kentucky nursing homes, look here.


0 responses to “State Of Nursing Homes From A ‘Nursing Home Reform Activist’”

  1. Fridrichk says:

    6 years of anguish at the hands of nursing homes it has not gotten better. I have a parent in long term care in northern nevada. I am slowly becoming an activist, so much to learn and to do, but I am so totally motivated. There must be change, lets start by removing the medicare non punitive allowance.

  2. Fridrichk says:

    The nursing facilities I have experienced in Northern Nevada are a disgrace and yes Mr Poland I am  going through the same thing as you. My mother is in a long term care facility and they have caused her a great deal of suffering and they have damaged her and though she his alive at this time they have pushed her into end of life sooner than it would have been otherwise.I am to poor to get her out so I have to watch their incompetance destroy her and me. If I sound defeated, I AM NOT!!!! I will never give up going after them. I will never surrender!

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Client Reviews

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric