Many of us have heard tales of elder nursing home patients wandering beyond facility bounds—only to be found hours later by police or local citizens. Sometimes, nursing home staff have no idea that the individual was even gone. There are other stories, including the inspections done by Operation Guardians, which tell of horrific conditions. Of course, these events beg a multitude of questions: Are these isolated incidents or based on any series of patterns? How often do this occur?
Well, now ProPublica has an app for that.
Yesterday ProPublica, a non-profit, New York City-based corporation, is launching Nursing Home Inspect—a tool that allows members of the public to an easier access to data found in nursing home inspections conducted throughout the nation. Drawing on government reports posted online last month, the app has an easily searchable database of recent nursing home inspections, most completed since January 2011. That massive catalog includes nearly 118,000 deficiencies cited against 14,565 homes, though ProPublica intends to add more each month as new reports become available. This tool, unlike anything before allows individuals to analyze in-depth nursing homes throughout the Unite States.
Users can search across all the reports by keyword, city, state—an apparatus government’s official nursing home website doesn’t have. The results can then be sorted by the severity of the violation. For years, supporters of nursing home melioration have desired for agencies and organizations to make inspection reports readily accessible to the public. And, now ProPublica has.
Here, Charles Ornstein from ProPublica outlines how to utilize Nursing Home Inspect to its greatest capacity.
“It presents a tremendous opportunity to examine the scope of serious nursing home problems such as understaffing and misuse of antipsychotic drugs, and to see what, if anything, is being done about them,” said Michael Connors, an advocate with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform was key player in the Operations Guardians inspections becoming public.
Though, many in the nursing home industry believe it does not actively reflect the quality of nursing homes. While such individuals agree that inspection reports are valuable for consumers, they also say the reports leave out important information. “One of our concerns is that it doesn’t acknowledge the things that the facilities are doing well,” said Lyn Bentley, senior director of regulatory services at the American Health Care Association, the industry trade group.
No one wants to believe their loved ones are being abused, but our San Diego elder abuse attorneys know it is more important than ever to be aware of the signs and symptoms of abuse. This new app is one step closer to granting full and clear information about local nursing homes. Many facilities are full of wonderful, caring people who work very hard to care for our state’s seniors. Others, instead, may be blighted with problems and neglectful care.
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