The recent proposal by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on nursing home reform has raised a hope of putting an end to the evils plaguing the elder care system in Kentucky.
Announced on July 16 and subsequently quoted by President Obama at the 2015 National Conference on Aging, the plan includes a list of reforms to overhaul federal guidelines for nursing homes. The first such attempt in three decades, the changes seek to ensure employment of skilled caregivers, fulfill the needs of residents, and address issues of mistreatment and abuse. “We’re going to update the quality and safety requirements for thousands of nursing homes — the first major overhaul in nearly 25 years, we’re going to train more prosecutors in how to combat elder abuse,” promised the President in his address.
The CMS reform proposal is focused on enhancing quality and safety requirements through increased person-centered care, service availability, quality of care, professional standards, and more stringent regulatory measures. Like other states, Kentucky nursing homes are recipients of Medicare and Medicaid funds, and they are bound to improve their services to receive funds. Regulatory measure is likely to put checks on their negligent attitude, ensure professional and direct care availability, streamline record keeping, and save residents from ill-treatment. The biggest effect will be on a third of KY care facilities that fail to provide a safer ambience to residents.
The proposals talk about “meeting the nutrition needs of residents” through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In Kentucky, more than 35 percent of nursing homes fail to provide nutritional food to elders staying there, let alone think of allergies, preferences and intolerances. Malnutrition and dehydration contribute to their falling health and loss of life.
Enhanced staff training requirements is a welcome step to improve care standards that is appallingly lacking. Rude, untrained, and inattentive staff treats residents like animals or life-less objects. Dementia patients are at the receiving end, as no one is watchful of their special needs. A majority of Kentucky nursing home abuse and negligence complaints highlight cynical behavior of caregivers. The changes planned require employees to be skilled in “addressing behavioral issues among residents” and respond positively to those mentally ill.
Rightly called “Freedom from Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation,” the list includes efforts to streamline medical support in the form of swift pain management, assured treatment needs, and prevention of abuse of antipsychotic drugs and antibiotics. It also calls for ban on physical or chemical restraints that are the most common forms of abuse at a Kentucky nursing home and used to restrain residents complaining of misbehavior of negligence. Treatment needs and pain management guidelines are often thrown to the wind. One of the KY nursing home neglect lawsuits filed a few years ago highlighted how an elder woman was left writhing in pain for hours before she was treated. The victim died as her urine slipped into the opening of her previously operated leg and caused infection.
A string of CMS proposals are intended to provide protection to nursing home residents from abuse and sexual assaults. Including “screening tools to identify victims, empowering effective intervention, and enhancing scope of eldercare surveys and research to training state and local prosecutors for faster prosecution of those responsible for nursing home abuse and negligence,” many new steps have been suggested. Taking into account the risk of financial abuse, the reform seeks integrated and empowered effort “to prevent, recognize and report elder financial exploitation.” The proposals also talk of using technology to ensure reporting, better compliance, and monitoring of procedures at a long-term care facility.
Kentucky ranks shamefully high in nursing home abuse and neglect complaints. Consumer and monitoring groups have rated more than half of state care facilities in one or two star category for their failure to provide direct and professional care and basic services. If you have reasons to believe that a resident is subject to nursing home neglect in Kentucky, please contact us or call on 1-866-447-0150 to discuss the best course of action. Our Kentucky nursing home abuse lawyer is ready to assist plaintiffs pursuing claims against caregivers.