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Some Dangerous Conditions in Nursing Homes

Medicaid is the lifeblood of many long-term care facilities, and it has changed a lot since the early 2000s.  Already low reimbursement rates have declined as much as 43 percent in some cases.  Protocol has changed as well.  Medicaid once reimbursed nursing homes for each staff-resident contact, so the facility made money with each visit, but the program now mostly pays a flat fee per patient.  As a result, the nursing home basically loses money every time a staff member checks on a resident.

Profit-conscious nursing home administrators are very aware of these changes.  To cope with declining rates, many facilities take on as many patients as possible, so that volume can make up for a per-patient revenue shortfall.  Many facilities have cut staff-resident interactions to the bone.

Cutting costs like this creates a situation ripe with abuse in certain nursing homes, particularly in the two areas below.

Pressure Ulcers

Bedridden nursing home residents are at great risk for bedsores.  If caught early enough, pressure ulcers often go away by themselves; if left untreated for too long, pressure ulcers can cause a life-threatening blood flow interruption.  Early detection is key to preventing it.

To avoid bedsores, a patient must turn in bed at least once every two hours.  Many nursing home residents can’t do that on their own.  Some are too physically weak to move under their own power, others are heavily sedated by medication and drugs, and some suffer from dementia or other issues.

A high patient population in such cases often mean that patient care techs and other lower-level employees perform rounds only on nights and weekends.  Such workers may not recognize developing pressure ulcers or understand how deadly they could become. If a resident develops a bedsore in this environment, the nursing home is responsible for it and the subsequent health issues.

Resident on Resident Abuse

Many nursing home residents wander about.  That can be a problem in crowded facilities, where residents with almost no privacy are very protective of what they consider theirs.  Similarly, crowded common areas mean that there are more disputes over a preferred spot on the sofa or a favorite dining room table.

These disputes can become violent, and since many residents are frail, very little force can cause serious injury.  The nursing home in this situation created the dangerous condition by accepting too many patients for them to handle and made it worse by ignoring flare-ups between residents.

If you suspect nursing home abuse or are a victim of it yourself, talk to a nursing home lawyer today to get the justice you deserve.


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