Nursing homes across the country received lower scores from the government’s five star rating system. A survey published in USA Today assessed more than 15,000 facilities with information collected from over 1.5 million consumers. The slip isn’t because of a decline in quality of care, however, but because of tougher standards implemented by the government.
Nursing home ratings involved three main categories; inspection, quality measure, and staffing rating. Inspection includes multiple years of survey data and complaints. Quality measure includes pain reports, and falls and use of restraints, while the staffing rating assesses the mix of nurses and aides as well as average time a patient has access to care professionals.
Researchers said that in addition to the categories above, the study includes a measure of the use of anti-psychotic drugs. The use of these drugs comes along with a high risk factor for the elderly, especially those with dementia. The new study also refined the way in which staffing is studied.
Not all nursing homes are happy with the changes, saying that “Federal ratings for nursing homes were inaccurate and artificially inflated, federal officials readjusted quality standards, which brought the ratings of nearly a third of the nation’s nursing homes down…” Operators are worried that the general public will misinterpret the new ratings as a decline in care quality instead of a change in the ranking system.
The people most affected by the change seem to be welcoming it. Robyn Grant is the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. The group advocates for nursing home residents, and Director Grant released a statement saying, “We’ve been concerned for quite some time that the ratings have been over-inflated, particularly as they relate to quality and staffing. Rescaling the quality measures is going to result in more accurate reflections of quality care.”
Choosing the right nursing home is difficult for any number of reasons, not least of which is the concern for an aging family member. We hope that these new standards provide a more accurate picture to prevent unnecessary suffering. To learn more about the new ratings system and how your loved one might be affected, please contact Crandall & Pera Law. We maintain multiple office locations throughout Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky for your convenience.