Did you know that Pennsylvania nursing homes receive report cards? The nursing home report card ratings, compiled by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, are based on inspections, staffing levels and measures of the health quality of residents. Specifically, Medicare looks at three years of health department inspection data, nursing and physical staffing levels and such health measures as the percentage of residents with bed sores, urinary tract infections, and other ailments.
The rating system is designed to be a guide for family members when choosing care for loved ones — however, the government notes that it is not intended to be a substitute for visits to nursing homes and other personal research. While the rating system may not be a complete measure of the standard of care a nursing home provides, the ratings certainly speak volumes about many aspects of the nursing home industry, in general.
Frightfully, but perhaps not surprisingly, many nursing homes in Pennsylvania score below average in their ratings. According to medicare.gov, nearly half of the 97 nursing home facilities within a 50 mile radius of Harrisburg, PA have an overall rating of “below average” or lower. These poor ratings may come as a result of severe under-staffing, overall inadequacy in the health care of residents, or a combination of factors. Individual reports on Pennsylvania’s nursing home facilities, including inspection reports, can be found on the Medicare website.
A low rating by Medicare may not always be a guarantee that your loved one is being mistreated in their nursing home facility, but it can be a good indication that the care is substandard. At the very least, family members should stay vigilant for signs of neglect and/or abuse.
Unfortunately, as personal injury lawyers in Pennsylvania, we have seen nursing home negligence and abuse become more prevalent as the state’s population grows older. If you suspect that your loved one may be a victim of nursing home negligence, report any suspicious activity or incidents to the PA Department of Health, and then contact a qualified Harrisburg personal injury lawyer for confidential legal advice.