Nursing home abuse and neglect litigation continues to be on the rise in Tennessee and around the Country. Many large nursing home chains have created a system to maximize profits at the expense of providing proper care. Additionally, State surveys of nursing homes reflect glaring deficiencies in care that are not apparent to a first time visitor to the home who is deciding whether or not to place a parent or loved one there.
People who have relatives that need nursing home care due to advanced medical conditions, dementia or other illnesses that require total assistance care have a difficult choice to make in deciding where to place their relative. Advertisements for nursing homes certainly do not provide detailed information about deficiencies or problems in the homes. For such a critical decision, and with such a large number of facilities that receive below average marks for care, it is important that one thoroughly investigates the nursing home when considering where to place a loved one.
One tool that has been recently opened to the public that provides some information is through ProPublica, a non-profit investigative journalism company. The tool is a Nursing Home Inspection database that covers nearly 118,000 deficiencies in 14,565 nursing homes. The database uses State surveys and information from Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare database and attempts to provide more detailed information about specific deficiencies. While it is not perfect, the database is a good starting point to help in the evaluation of any particular nursing home and to help in the placement decision.
The database provides a snapshot in time of deficiencies and does not focus on corrective action taken by any nursing home. However, if you know of a documented deficiency, that will help you in asking the right questions to find out if the deficiency has been addressed. This tool is helpful, but it is only as complete as the information that has been analyzed. State Surveys and the Medicare database provide additional information that may not be reflected in the database.