New Law Provides Vital Nursing Home Information

Do you have to make a decision for a parent or spouse regarding a nursing home?

It is very difficult to get information that you can trust.  Talking with other families will often help, but interviewing the facility does not often lead to full disclosure regarding prior incidents, claims, or whether the facility has liability insurance.

Starting January 1, 2011 there are other sources available.

Nursing Home Ratings

As of January 1, 2011 all California nursing homes are required to post the ratings they received under the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ five-star system at their facilities.  ( VCStar, December 30, 2010).  In addition, the facilities are required to post information explaining what the ratings mean and how people can get information about a facility’s state licensing record.  The system looks at three different criteria to determine home’s rating: (1) health inspections; (2) staffing numbers; and (3) quality measures.  A five star rating means “much beyond average” in terms of the overall quality of care it provides, and a one star rating means that the quality of care offered is considered “much below average.”

Bed Sores Or Failure To Provide Care Can Constitute Elder Abuse In California

The aim of the California law is to make sure that patients, prospective residents, and families know what rating a nursing facility has been given.

Of  California’s  over 1,000 federally-rated nursing homes, 195 got the lowest rating, one star, while 187 got five stars.  USA Today analyzed government data and found that 27% of the country’s 10,542 for-profit nursing homes are one-star, compared with 13% of the 4,182 not-for-profit nursing homes.  Click here to look up a facility in the USA Today Rating System.

How you Can Protect Yourself and Your Family

In making this decision, do not be afraid to ask the facility representative if they have much staff turnover, had any State actions against them, or if they have liability insurance.  The Brandi Firm represented a family for the death of their mother at a facility recommended by a local hospital.  The mother received horrible care and ended up passing away as a result.  Discovery showed the facility had no insurance, filed bankruptcy after suit was filed, and re-emerged later with the same owners and management under a different name.

Even with the ratings system in place, it remains up to us to ask the right questions and be proactive when it comes to care for the elderly or dependent adults.  Also, make sure you go to the facility and see how it looks and smells and try to talk with other families about their experiences.

If you have had an incident at a nursing home or residence facility or want to learn more about elder issues, click here to learn about the Brandi Law Firm Elder Abuse Attorneys