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| Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn

A recently issued national nursing home report card found that staffing issues existed in 96 percent of all states that were cited for poor nursing home care. The report, compiled by the Families for Better Care, provides a state-by-state analysis of nursing care issues across the country and highlighted problems associated with staffing levels.

The survey discovered that across the country only seven states provided more than one hour of nursing care per resident per day. The report card noted that Alaska, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hawaii and Oregon ranked as the top five states according to the quality of nursing home care provided. On the other hand, states located across the South made up many of the lowest scoring, with Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana, Louisiana and Texas rounding out the bottom five.

The executive director of Families for Better Care noted that staffing levels played a critical role in determining state rankings. Good states were those whose nursing homes were staffed at much higher levels than the bad states. Other metrics for quality tended to follow along behind staffing levels. The survey clearly demonstrated that states whose nursing homes had sufficient levels of professional nurses working had correspondingly higher quality of care scores. It only stands to reasonĀ  that understaffing leads to overwork of existing staff, which ultimately translates into neglect on some level.

Another issue highlighted by the survey was the dirty conditions found at many nursing facilities. The report card revealed that health inspections in nursing homes across the country often result in shockingly low scores. In fact, the report card indicated that the average health inspection score across the country was just over 30. The problem is a widespread one, with nearly 90 percent of all nursing homes being cited for such health inspection deficiency.

The survey also examined issues surrounding nursing home abuse and neglect, a problem that many see as rampant. In fact, the report card noted that in half of all states, 1 out of 5 nursing homes were cited for abusing, neglecting or mistreating residents.

The director of Families for Better Care says the goal of the report card is to applaud those states taking steps to improve care for elderly Americans while shining a light on those places where quality care is lacking. The hope is that by revealing some of the issues with nursing homes, improvements can be made to improve the standard of living for millions of senior citizens who reside in these facilities.


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