A new report released this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates that roughly one third of all patients in nursing homes are harmed by their treatments. The study, based on a sampling of nursing home patients throughout the country, also indicated that a sweeping majority of these harms were preventable.
The department referred to these incidents as “misjudgments” resulting from “ignorance.” Two primary reasons for these nursing home injuries and wrongful deaths are:
- Lack of proper training
- Lack of monitoring/paying attention
Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that they hope the results of this study will push states to crack down on nursing home regulations as well as oversight. Currently, nursing homes only receive state oversight and do not have to adhere to federal regulations.
Of the one third of nursing home patients who were harmed by their treatment, 60 percent of them ended up back in the hospital. These avoidable injuries and deaths deal Medicare a blow of $2.8 billion every year.
The quality of care for elderly patients needs to change also because the patients are changing. Nursing home residents are, on average, in a worse state than they were two decades ago. State’s standard of care needs to adapt to meet the changing needs of the patients.
Many nursing home facilities are already on the path toward improvement, but according to representatives from the Center for Medicare Advocacy, there is still much work to be done.
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