According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as outlined in a recent article in Memphis’ Commercial Appeal, nearly half of the nursing homes in Shelby County, Tennessee scored well below average. Of the 31 nursing homes in the County, 15 received scores of 1-2 stars out of a possible 5 stars.
The most common errors bringing the scores down included, but were certainly not limited to, medication errors, mislabeled medications, understaffing, improper use of physical restraints, and unnecessary use of catheters. Shortcomings in these areas can lead to drastic results for nursing home residents. Sadly, nursing home neglect is easly avoidable.
According to the area’s long-term care ombudsman, Sandy Smegelsky, who is an advocate for nursing home patients and their families, the lack of quality nurses is a major issue and contributing factor to the low scores in the area. The lack of a sufficiently sized, trained and dedicated nursing staff makes it almost impossible for a nursing home to provide the kind of quality care that nursing home residents deserve. Naturally, if the facility is understaffed and the staff that is available has to work beyond what should be expected, that can lead to the errors in medication and treatment that lower the overall scores for the facilities.
Abuse and neglect are the natural result of systematic problems within nursing homes. The lack of adequate staff, poorly trained and/or supervised staff, and overworked staff all contribute to an environment where care and treatment of the elderly is jeopardized.
At the Higgins Firm, we represent individuals and their families in Tennessee who have been the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect.