New Proposals Could Help Address Care Deficiencies in Ohio Nursing Homes

Over 900 Ohio nursing homes serve the needs of nearly 100,000 state residents who require personal care every day. Nursing home staff members usually fulfill their role as caregivers responsibly once families entrust them with the care of a loved one. However, nursing home neglect is still occurring at a troublesome rate in Ohio.

To ease the burdens placed on the thousands of seniors receiving substandard care, an advisory council appointed by the Ohio legislature has released a list of 20 proposed measures to facilitate improvement in nursing homes.

New Medicaid Incentive Program Would Promote Resident Health, Happiness

Some of the proposed changes are aimed at giving nursing home patients more control over their own lives, which the panel's members believe can improve patient outlooks, prevent staff turnover (high employee turnover rates affect training standards and thus patient outcomes) and lower costs.

For instance, a higher proportion of residents are to be offered flexible dining options with a variety of meal choices and open dining periods. An increased number of residents will also receive the opportunity to bathe or shower as often as they would like, and the ability to go to bed/get up in the morning at whatever time they see fit.

Clinical outcomes also play an integral role in the new recommendations. Facilities will be expected to control rates of pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections and patient reports of ongoing pain.

If implemented, nursing homes that meet the minimum metrics required to meet five or more of the proposal's goals will be rewarded with a higher per-bed Medicaid payment (around 70 percent of Ohio nursing home residents are covered by Medicaid).

Neglect Unfortunately Far Too Common

In 2009, an average of 8.5 care deficiencies — problems that could result in a negative impact on the health and safety of residents — were recorded for each certified nursing facility. Over 90 percent of nursing homes evinced at least on deficiency; 22.4 percent of nursing homes had a deficiency that resulted in actual patient harm or jeopardy. Some of the most common reasons behind deficiencies included the administration of unnecessary drugs, bed sores and substandard infection control.

If The New Measures Are Not Enough

Hopefully, the new proposals will result in a better environment for those living in nursing facilities. However, trusting in government programs is not always enough to safeguard the well-being of your loved ones.

If your loved one has been subjected to abuse, neglect or any type of harm in an Ohio nursing home, make sure that such mistakes are not repeated by holding the parties responsible accountable for monetary damages. Contact an experienced Toledo attorney today to discuss your legal options.