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Carrollton Nursing Home Requirements

In 1986, the Institute of Medicine, in response to a request from Congress, conducted a study of nursing homes across the nation. The results were stunning. The study found the number of patients who were neglected or intentionally abused was more than anyone expected. In response, the Nursing Home Reform Act was passed in 1987 as part of a larger Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

The landmark legislation established guidelines to ensure that each resident would receive a “standard of care that is free from abuse, isolation and improper medical treatment.” The three primary areas of reform involved requiring:

  • A Bill of Rights for each resident to be sure residents are treated with dignity, participate in their own care and are allowed to express their complaints without fear of reprisal.
  • Certain Resident Services are required, including access to all necessary dietary, nursing, social, pharmaceutical and rehabilitation services. In addition, there must be a comprehensive care plan for each patient, and each patient is to be periodically assessed to be sure the care plan is still applicable and appropriate.
  • Regulations and guidelines for facility certification were put in place to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) put in place regulations for nursing homes and works with states, which are responsible for conducting unannounced surveys of the facilities to evaluate the quality of care and whether or not the provisions of the Reform Act are being followed. These surveys must include interviews with patients. The unannounced visits cannot be more than 15 months apart. If the visit reveals anything that is in non-compliance with state or federal law, it is considered a deficiency. The required corrective action for the deficiency depends upon the nature and seriousness of the deficiency. Actions range from a warning and allowing the facility to correct the deficiency to Medicare and Medicaid withholding payment for services.

Georgia Nursing Homes: Worse Than Those in 43 Other States

A non-profit organization dedicated to improving nursing home care in the United States, Families for Better Care (FBC), analyzes eight federal standards for nursing homes, including level of nursing care and number of deficiencies, and issues a “report card” in which it gives the state a letter grade from A to F. It also ranks the states in order of performance in comparison with other states.

The bad news for Georgia is that nursing homes in the state are not improving. In 2013, FBC gave the homes an overall grade of D and ranked them 32 out of 50. In 2014, the grade went down to an F and the rank fell to 43. Although the homes had very few serious deficiencies, it received an F in all areas of nursing care and in health inspections. The Director of FBC stated that, “Georgia’s failing grade indicates that the state’s nursing homes are riddled with problems.”

What to Look for When Evaluating a Nursing Home

CMS has published a 60-page Guide to Choosing a Home or other long-term care arrangement for your loved one. Just a few of its recommendations include:

  • Visit the home and talk to the staff.
  • Ask to see the health inspection reports. These should be provided to you. If the home balks at giving them to you, go on to visit another home.
  • Talk to other patients and their families. They are not required to talk to you, but generally, they will be willing to.
  • You will want to make an appointment to visit when you want to talk to an administrator or staff. But, you also want to drop-in unannounced. If a home will not allow such a visit, you do not want your loved one to live there.
  • Ask questions. If you hear crying or shouting from a patient’s room, ask for an explanation before concluding there is a problem with the care.

Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home

The Guide provides a checklist of things to note on your visit. A few of those items include:

  • Is it clean?
  • Is it free from unpleasant odors?
  • Are the residents dressed in fresh clothes appropriate to the season?
  • Is it a comfortable temperature?
  • Take time to have a meal at the home so you can view how the residents are treated and what the quality of the food is.

Contacting An Elder Abuse Lawyer

The frightening thing is, even if everything checks out just fine, and the home looks like the most beautiful one you have ever seen, and patients and staff seem happy, mistakes are made and patients may still be abused or neglected. If you or a loved was the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, call us at The Parian Law Firm in metro Atlanta. We have the experience and dedication you need to represent you in your quest for justice and accountability.