The state of Pennsylvania has the fourth-highest percentage of residents who are 65 and older. Due to this large senior population, Pennsylvania also has a large network of nursing homes and senior care centers. However, as any Pittsburgh nursing home abuse lawyer knows, not all nursing homes provide the same level of care.
Recently, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began publishing full reports of federal nursing home inspections. The reports revealed the nursing homes in Pittsburgh received more deficiencies that any other city in Pennsylvania. On average, Pittsburgh nursing home received about 13 deficiencies per nursing home. The national average, on the other hand, is six or seven deficiencies. A long-term ombudsman visits each nursing home once a year.
A nursing home may be held liable for injuries to its patients if the injury was in fact caused by the nursing home or its staff's negligence. Many states have statutes that establish minimum standards of care for nursing homes. Nursing home negligence can take the form of inadequately trained staff, staff members with a history of violence, not enough staff members or isolation of residents. As a result of these factors, residents could experience either physical or psychological harm. Where residents have preexisting medical conditions, if that condition was made worse by the actions or inactions of the nursing home staff, that may also be grounds for action against the home.
The CMS reports are available to the public online. In addition to the reports, for families researching nursing homes for loved ones, another option is to visit the prospective nursing homes and make first-hand observations, such as how many staff members they have working during meal times, and how the residents are faring.
Source: TimesOnline.com, "Western Pa. nursing homes receive poor grades," Halle Stockton, Dec. 22, 2012