Working as a nursing home abuse lawyer, I’ve developed my own theories about how certain injuries come to be or the prevalence of certain conditions. However, until recently, my theories were based upon little more than my observations of the industry based upon what I was regularly seeing in my my cases.
Now, the people at ProPublica who recently built out a very fine database of information regarding nursing homes “Nursing Home Inspect” that includes details from actual inspection reports from every U.S. nursing home over the past three years. As we discussed earlier, what I find most useful about the site is that its searchable function allows for families to search for specific information very quickly– as opposed to scanning through pages of an inspection report.
Mining through the data, ProPublica has now assembled a list of the 10 most common nursing home violations based upon the 262,500 reported deficiencies in their database:
- Facility is free of accident hazards
- Facility establishes infection control program
- Provide necessary care for highest practicable well-being
- Store/prepare/distribute food under sanitary conditions
- Develop comprehensive care plans
- Services provided must meet professional standards
- Clinical records meet professional standards
- Not employ persons guilty of abuse
- Drug regimen is free from unnecessary drugs
What shall we gather from this list?
I find myself drawn to lists of information that claim to be the ‘best’ or the ‘worst’ lists all the time. They’re fast and usually contain interesting tidbits. However, for a list such as this I really don’t know what the value is– aside from seeing how prevalent some of these issues are?
If anything, I fear that lists such as this can make an already anxious group of people, families with loved ones in nursing homes, even more uncertain. Not only do we not know the severity of these deficiencies, we don’t know if the deficiency actually contributed to a situation involving harm to a patient.
Given this lack of truly tangible results, I hope families look at situations such as this with a grain of salt and recognize that there truly is more involved than may be apparent on ‘top 10’ lists. On the other hand, as a nursing home abuse lawyer I hope that information such as this at least gets people thinking about the issues involved in nursing home care– which may just be enough to prevent their loved one from becoming another statistic.