As a Philadelphia nursing home negligence attorney, I was interested in a recent article in the New York Times that discussed a rating system now available to families seeking information about nursing homes. This is an important tool to help families assess these facilities as they make decisions about where they or their loved ones will be cared for. As a Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyer, I've seen many cases of abuse, neglect and other negligence in nursing homes where profits come before patients, and I know that families need all the help they can get to avoid substandard facilities.
The Nursing Home Compare tool on Medicare.gov allows families to find and compare information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country, using a rating system of one to five stars. One star means that the nursing home is far below average, and five stars indicates that it's far above average, on measures of health inspections, staffing, and quality. It also provides an overall rating based on annual inspections and data reported by nursing home administrators.
Staffing issues are often the basis for claims brought by Philadelphia injury lawyers when a nursing home resident receives substandard care.
Experts advise families seeking nursing homes to use the rating system, in addition to visiting the nursing homes they're considering at varying times of the day and asking the nursing aides how long they've been in their jobs. They also suggest talking to nursing home administrators, other families and the local aging agency's ombudsman. By putting all these sources of information together, families may be able to avoid some of the worst problems that nursing home patients can experience, like bedsores and other injuries that result from understaffing, inexperienced or poorly screened staff, and financial abuse by poorly supervised staff members.