Its a fine line between ordering an under performing nursing home to close its doors versus giving the facility an opportunity to improve. Many of the ‘under-performing’ facilities are responsible for caring for some of the most challenging residents–those that other facilities are incapable or simply refuse to care for. In the end, resident safety needs to preempt all other factors when making a determination as to a facilities future.
Case in point, Whispering Pines Nursing Nursing Center– which has lost its Medicare and Medicaid funding– effectively forcing the facility to close its doors. The decision to pull federal funding was due to serious deficiencies relating to patient safety discovered during inspections of the facility.
Consequently, 128 patients and 140 employees will need new facilities to live and work in within the next 30 days. Among the safety problems at Whispering Pines noted in a recent report include:
- Failing to investigate allegations of abuse
- Failing to provide condoms to sexually active, HIV-positive residents
- Not regularly screening residents and employees for tuberculosis
“Whispering Pines has chronic problems, and they’re unable to provide us with any credible evidence that they could clear them up,” said Dorya Huser, long-term care division chief for the Oklahoma health department. “We’re looking out for the best interest of the people that live there and deserve a better standard of care.”
According to Dr. Tom Merrill, the medical director at Whispering Pines, moving the residents will traumatize and disrupt their care. “It is good care by excellent nurses who are faced with patients that have challenging psychiatric problems. This is not good for any of them.”
Who could argue that residents deserve to live in a safe facility? However, is it realistic to expect psychiatric residents to find a new facility with just 30 days notice? Is any way an under-performing facility can be turned around?