The nation’s $137 billion nursing home industry has made major improvements since the landmark 1987 federal Nursing Home Reform Act imposed mandates to combat neglect and abuse. However, the industry, which draws heavily on taxpayer funding via Medicare and Medicaid, still struggles to provide safe care for many of its residents.
Approximately one-third of Medicare patients suffered preventable harm within a month of being admitted to nursing homes for short-term rehabilitation, according to a 2014 study released by the Department of Health and Human Services. The harm cost an estimated $2.8 billion in Medicare for hospitalizations alone in 2011.
Researchers and patient advocates say that insufficient staffing is one of the biggest contributors to poor outcomes for nursing home residents. After evaluating staffing metrics, the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has concluded that anything less than 4.1 hours of total daily nursing care per long-term resident increases the risk of harm to patients with injuries ranging from bed sores and weight loss to much more serious conditions. Nursing homes are hardly keeping up, putting residents in harms way.
Nursing homes have an obligation to live up to the reasonable standard of care that we expect. When they don’t, our elderly community can wrongfully suffer degrading, injurious nursing home neglect and abuse. If you or a loved one has been harmed in an Iowa nursing home or other residential treatment center, contact the Des Moines Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help today.
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