Families for Better Care, which works to create awareness about conditions in our nation’s nursing homes, recently released a report grading the quality of nursing home care in each state and Pennsylvania received an F.
In fact, 16 of Pennsylvania’s nursing homes are among the worst in the nation, according to this report. These facilities had a consistent record of having issues with sanitation and safety, along with residents suffering declining health.
This report is based on federal data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which rates facilities on several metrics, including:
- Problems found during government inspections
- Staffing hours per resident
- Number of facilities with deficiencies
- Portion of nursing homes rates as below average or just average
- Verified complaints
Problems With Our State’s Nursing Homes
Pennsylvania’s nursing homes were ranked 32nd in the previous report but dropped to 46th in the nation in this latest report. According to federal data, citations for one or more deficiencies were handed out to 95 percent of nursing homes in the state.
Severe deficiencies were also up more than 80 percent since the last report card was released. However, Pennsylvania got a C for the number of homes with severe deficiencies, which puts our state in the middle nationally. The problem is, Pennsylvania got an A for severe deficiencies as recently as 2014, which meant our state was the eighth-best in the nation (the more deficiencies, the lower the grade for a state in this report).
Pennsylvania nursing home residents were lucky if they received proper care because residents got less than two hours and 21 minutes of direct care each day.
One bright spot in the report card is that Pennsylvania got a B for professional nursing hours per resident. Pennsylvania ranked 16th in the nation for providing 1.83 professional nursing hours per resident, on average.
Improving Nursing Homes in Pennsylvania
The executive director of Families for Better Care, Brian Lee, said understaffing is a “chronic problem” at nursing homes in our state. In a news release, Lee said one way for legislators and the governor to improve is to pass a staffing standard that is tough. However, that will not work if facilities lack funding to pay for staffing increases.
An opinion piece published on PennLive also advocated for the need for tougher staffing regulations. Currently, the state requires just 2.70 hours of direct care for residents each day. This is one of the lowest requirements in the nation.
The piece also says research indicates it is good to have managers and caregivers at nursing homes working together to determine the best way to operate the facility. This is because caregivers are considered experts on patients because they are with them all the time. They know what care is needed. A top-down management approach does not bring those caregivers in to help improve the quality of care residents receive.
What Nursing Homes Are Saying
The Pennsylvania Health Care Association represents nursing homes in the state and the CEO of this organization pointed out that the current report card is based on data from 2017. He said there was significant improvement that should be indicated in the 2018 data.
The CEO pointed out funding shortages are having a severe impact on the ability to provide residents with quality care. Up to 70 percent of nursing home residents in the state are covered by Medicaid, and the money paid out for each resident by Medicaid has not increased since 2014. In fact, on average, facilities receive $27.25 less than what is costs to care for each resident, according to the CEO.
This makes it harder for these facilities to attract workers, even as there is currently an historically low unemployment rate.
Contact an Attorney Right Away
When the elderly suffer abuse, mistreatment or neglect while residing at a nursing home, their loved ones may be able to fight back to recover compensation and hold the perpetrators accountable for their action or lack of action.
Our Harrisburg nursing home abuse attorneys understand what families experience after they find out a loved one suffered nursing home abuse. We are here to support you and help you seek the justice you deserve.
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