nursing homes

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A new Illinois statute aims to boost flu shot rates among healthcare workers by making it harder for employees to decline the vaccine.

Lawmakers say this is important in light of last year’s flu season that killed more people than car crashes and drug overdoses. But some on the frontlines of public health worry that a law that’s not enforced will have little effect.

1,400 Nursing Homes Get Lower Medicare Ratings Because Of Staffing Concerns

Jul 30, 2018
Photo by Matt Sawyers is licensed under CC0. https://pixabay.com/en/senior-healthcare-home-medical-care-599806/

Medicare has lowered its star ratings for staffing levels in 1 in 11 of the nation’s nursing homes — almost 1,400 of them — because they either had inadequate numbers of registered nurses or failed to provide payroll data that proved they had the required nursing coverage, federal records released last week show.

Medicare only recently began collecting and publishing payroll data on the staffing of nursing homes as required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010, rather than relying as it had before on the nursing homes’ own unverified reports.

Forget Hurricanes — Many Nursing Homes Lack Basic Emergency Preparedness

Sep 19, 2017

It does not take a hurricane to put nursing home residents at risk when disaster strikes.

Around the country, facilities have been caught unprepared for far more mundane emergencies than the hurricanes that recently struck Florida and Houston, according to an examination of federal inspection records. Those homes rarely face severe reprimands, records show, even when inspectors identify repeated lapses.

Cost Of Long-Term Care For Older Adults Is Rising, But What Can Be Done?

Sep 6, 2017

Americans are spending billions of dollars each year on long-term care for older adultsand many are struggling to figure out how to pay for care for a loved one, or how to fund future care for themselves.

Medicaid-Funded Home-Based Care Could Be Next On Chopping Block

Jul 31, 2017
Heidi De Marco / Kaiser Health News

Ten years ago, a driver ran a stop sign as Jim McIlroy rode into the intersection on his motorcycle. Serious injuries left McIlroy paralyzed from the chest down. But, after spending some time in a nursing home, he returned to his home near Bethel, Maine.

Every week in Des Moines, Iowa, the employees of a small nonprofit collect bins of unexpired prescription drugs tossed out by nursing homes after residents died, moved out or no longer needed them. The drugs are given to patients who couldn't otherwise afford them.

As Nursing Homes Evict Patients, States Question Motives

Jun 2, 2017

People complain about nursing homes a lot: the food's no good or there's not enough staff, and so on. It's a long list. But the top complaint, according to the federal government, is eviction from a nursing home.

Technically, it's known as involuntary discharge, and in 2015 it brought in more than 9,000 complaints. Now, a couple of states are looking for ways to hold nursing homes accountable for unnecessary evictions.

How N.Y.'s Biggest For-Profit Nursing Home Group Flourishes Despite a Record of Patient Harm

Oct 28, 2015
Charlie Stewart lost most of his leg to a wound that turned gangrenous during a 2013 hospital stay.
Allegra Abramo / ProPublica

Charlie Stewart was looking forward to getting out of the nursing home in time for his 60th birthday.  On his planned release day, in late 2012, the Long Island facility instead called Stewart's wife to say he was being sent to the hospital with a fever.

When his wife, Jeanne, met him there, the stench of rotting flesh made it difficult to sit near her husband. The small wounds on his right foot that had been healing when Stewart entered the nursing home now blackened his entire shin.

Antibiotics’ Misuse Puts Nursing Home Residents At Risk, Says CDC

Oct 20, 2015
Clostridium difficile bacteria, also known as C. diff., is known to spread when the body's defenses are weakened by antibiotics. Each year c. diff.  puts 250,000 people in the hospital and kills 15,000.
Sanofi Pasteur via Flickr

Antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly to ailing nursing home residents up to 75 percent of the time, the nation’s public health watchdog says.

The reasons vary — wrong drug, wrong dose, wrong duration or just unnecessarily – but the consequences are scary, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Overused antibiotics over time lose their effectiveness against the infections they were designed to treat. Some already have. And some antibiotics actually cause life-threatening illnesses on their own.

A map showing the status of state Medicaid expansion as of July 24, 2015
Anita Cardwell and Kaitlin Sheedy / State Refor(u)m

Congress established Medicaid fifty years ago today as a health insurance program for the poor, with the intention that the program would provide care just as good as what the rest of Americans receive. According to Rutgers University Medicaid scholar Frank J. Thompson, the program has done a lot of good, even if it hasn’t quite lived up to that early goal.

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