A Nursing Home's Appearance May Be Deceiving

A Nursing Home's Appearance May Be Deceiving

Posted By The Maher Law Firm || 4-May-2015

Our Orlando nursing home abuse lawyers report on ‘The Chandelier Effect’.

Many seniors call Florida home. Aside from native residents, thousands of retirees migrate to the state every year to enjoy the warm climate and sunny skies.

However, if those seniors experience an acute health problem, a recent article in The New York Times suggests that they may have trouble finding adequate short-term nursing home care.

Not only that, but they may be lured into selecting facilities that tout luxury amenities while, in reality, providing substandard, negligent nursing home care.

Many Facilities Put Profit before Patient Safety

According to the Times, today's nursing homes are chasing after Medicare dollars at the expense of the residents who fill their beds.

The reason: Medicare pays 84 percent more for short-term patients than what they would get from Medicaid, the government program that covers long-term residents.

The result: Patients expecting a few weeks' rehabilitation in comfort run the risk of re-hospitalization for conditions stemming from negligent care.

A 2014 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 22 percent of patients who rehabbed in a nursing home for 35 days or less were harmed as a result of their care. The study determined 59 percent of those adverse events were "clearly or likely preventable."

Examples of nursing home negligence discussed in the report included:

  • Medication errors
  • Bedsores
  • Infections
  • Falls
  • Improper hygiene
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections associated with catheters.

Doctors say that patients who need short-term care after a procedure such as a hip replacement still need intense medical supervision. They told the Times that it is becoming even more crucial as hospitals are being pushed to discharge patients more quickly to avoid penalties.

However, many of the same problems that have plagued long-term nursing homes exist in short-term facilities such as nursing shortages and a high turnover of aides to help with tasks such as turning patients and helping them get to the bathroom.

Watch Out for 'The Chandelier Effect'

As nursing homes clamor for short-term patients, they are investing in decorating lavish lobbies and offering promises such as hot baths on demand, according to the Times article.

But beware of what geriatric specialists call "the chandelier effect" - a beautiful appearance masking a facility that is ill-equipped to meet a resident's needs.

Instead, it is important to do some research before settling on a nursing home.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services developed a five-star rating system to evaluate quality-of-care issues at nursing homes nationwide, which can be a helpful starting point for one's research.

The ratings system is based on:

  • Health inspections
  • Staffing ratios and how much time staff spends on each resident per day
  • Quality measures.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration also provides consumers with an online search tool to investigate quality-of-care findings at nursing facilities statewide.

While the ratings are a useful tool to narrow down one's nursing home search, keep in mind that there is no substitute for visiting the facility. Seeing the nursing home with one's own eyes can help to discover things that ratings system cannot measure such as the look on residents' faces as they interact with staff. One may also get a chance to pull aside a resident or family member to ask for their opinions about the facility.

Finally, a person should consider the proximity of the home to family or friends.

Nursing Home Neglect Is Unacceptable

The attorneys at The Maher Law Firm are committed to restoring the health and well-being of seniors who have been injured due to nursing home abuse and negligence. We fight for our clients and strive to preserve the dignity of vulnerable residents statewide. For a free consultation, call or connect with us online today.

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