On Wednesday, an investigation was released by the Center for Public Integrity, which independently calculated staffing levels by analyzing annual financial reports submitted by thousands of nursing homes across the country, and then compared their results to the staffing levels that were self-reported on widely-used government website Nursing Home Compare. The study revealed that thousands of nursing homes across the country exaggerate their staffing levels, particularly the number of registered nurses, which is over-reported by 80 percent of facilities nationwide.
According to NBC’s report on the study, close to 100 peer-reviewed, academic articles have shown that the amount of care, particularly that provided by registered nurses, is the factor that is most strongly connected with residents’ quality of care. Lower levels of care are associated with a higher likelihood of injury and even death, which might explain why a July study found that that a third of all nursing homes in the United States – 5,283 facilities out of more than 15,000 – were cited for almost 9,000 instances of abuse over a recent two-year period. Common problems included untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene, the report said. But in some reported cases, abuse was a result of a member of thenursing home staff committing physical sexual abuse, or failing to protect people from abuse by other residents.
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Resident-on-resident abuse was the focus of the second study released this week, published Monday by Cornell University-Weill Cornell Medical College, which revealed that one in five nursing home residents in 10 facilities across New York State were involved in at least one aggressive encounter with fellow residents during the four weeks before the study was released. Specific types of abuse included verbal incidents, such as cursing, screaming or yelling at another person, physical incidents, such as hitting, kicking or biting, and sexual incidents, such as exposing one’s genitals, touching other residents, or attempting to gain sexual favors.
If you or a loved one think you have experienced nursing home abuse, please contact us.