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Before choosing a nursing home, check out Nursing Home Inspect

Written by Diane Archer

If you are looking into nursing home options, Pro Publica has an online tool worth exploring, Nursing Home Inspect. The tool relies on federal government inspection reports to spotlight nursing homes with serious deficiencies. It also shows the average fines paid by nursing homes and the number of times nursing homes have had payments suspended on new admissions as a result of deficiencies.

The information on Nursing Home Inspect comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS collects data on all Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes. And, you can search nursing home inspection reports in any number of ways, including by key word and by state.

You can compare the nursing homes in a state based on an array of measures. For example, you can see all nursing homes in a state with serious deficiencies that put patients at immediate risk of harm. And, serious deficiencies abound in many states. Click here for a summary of Nursing Home Inspect’s state-by-state breakdown.

You can take a deep dive into each nursing facility. Nursing Home Inspect includes information on whether a nursing home is for-profit or non-profit, the number of beds, the amount it has been fined in the last three inspection cycles and the degree of severity of its deficiencies. It also indicates whether a nursing home is a “Special Focus Facility.” These nursing homes have serious quality deficiencies that CMS is focused on addressing. It is likely wise to stay away from these facilities.

Some states are more proactive than others at issuing fines on nursing homes with deficiencies. You can find out which states are more and less proactive and what the average fine is in a state.

If you simply want to know which nursing homes in a state have the worst records, Nursing Home Inspect provides you with a list of the 20 nursing homes with the most fines and the 20 nursing homes with the greatest number of serious deficiencies.

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  • These reports are excellent to show the quality of care provided by nursing homes. However, there are adult communities which are neither under oversight by the States nor are there any agencies to report problems.
    I lived in an adult community for people 55 and older. I have several health conditions which prevent me from living by myself, but I am independent enough to not require me to live in a nursing care facility.
    Before I moved in I had a discussion with the Assistant Director and explained what I needed, which included checking on me if no one had seen me for a couple of days. I was assured that they would provide these services.
    Well, it didn’t take long to see that these were empty promises. There were instances which caused me to fear for my safety and to look for alternative living arrangements.
    The first instance was another resident who was verbally and physically abusive towards other residents. Even after repeated complaints to management the person was allowed to continue living at the facility. It got so bad that I was told by the Director and a Corporate Officer to keep quiet or I would be evicted. It wasn’t until the resident became abusive towards the Corporate Officer that they got evicted.
    The second case was another person who paid for the entire resident package, including meals and housekeeping. They would show up for each and every meal. One day they stopped showing up for meals. A few days later some of their friends went to the new Assistant Director and asked them to do a wellness check. Instead of going to the resident’s apartment the Assistant Director tried to call the resident and did not get an answer. The Assistant Director told the resident’s friends that the resident didn’t answer so they must be okay. About a week later the housekeeper went into the resident’s apartment and found the resident on the floor of the bathroom. The resident had been dead for almost a week. That’s not the end of this. Both the Director and Assistant Director lied to the County Coroner and said that the resident had been to the dining room the previous day.
    The next instance is regarding the hiring of a new cook. The person had a history of elder abuse and had been fired from other facilities. It didn’t take long for the new cook to start abusing the residents. Again, no action would be taken even after multiple complaints.
    I still keep in touch with a couple of friends who still live there. The new Assistant Director and cook are gone. Several of the older residents in their 90s have died from natural causes. But the kitchen is now closed and residents who had been receiving meals were forced to move to other facilities. The Director has ads out for someone to lease and run the kitchen as a restaurant.
    When I’very tried to file complaints with the State I was told that since the residents do not receive public assistance for rent that there are no laws or regulations which would provide oversight to facilities like this.
    This is a major problem which has never been addressed by the Legislature. With our aging population, we need safe places for the elderly who can no longer live by themselves but are not ready for assisted living.

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