In 2018, family members testified in a hearing before the U.S. Senate to talk about abuse and neglect in nursing homes, including the daughter of an Iowa nursing home resident who succumbed to neglect.
During the hearing, it was noted that while assessment of nursing homes are performed by state investigators, it is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services that are responsible for holding homes accountable.
It was acknowledged, however, that the five star quality ranking system used to identify nursing home compliance with state standards, does not always accurately identify nursing home abuse or neglect and certainly problems can go undetected between ratings.
To underscore the point, the daughter of an Iowa nursing home resident testified that her mother, now deceased, had received good care at her Iowa nursing home and that family members were notified of concerns regularly. However, when the administrator of the nursing home changed, not only did notifications cease, but the quality of care degraded to the point of severe neglect – all while the nursing home retained a five star rating.
The major take away is that there must be a more accurate rating system to address nursing home abuse and neglect in order to prevent injuries and fatalities. Furthermore, the high turnover rates in nursing homes necessitates that staff are held accountable when things go wrong, discouraging the practice of rehiring or employing bad actors who may go on to reoffend.
Until legislation catches up to the wide spread problem of nursing home neglect and abuse, the best defense is family member involvement. Checking in with loved one regularly, looking for signs of abuse and neglect such as physical or emotional changes, and promptly reporting issues to staff and administrators for prompt resolution goes a long way to prevent injury.
Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect can result in injuries and death to family members. It is important to hold negligent nursing homes accountable to prevent further harm and compensate the victims and their families. If your loved one has been hurt in a nursing home, contact Iowa nursing home neglect and abuse attorney Marc Humphrey for immediate help at 515-331-3510.