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On behalf of Pat Crispi at Keogh Crispi PC

New York nursing homes get a failing grade for 2014.

Astonishingly, more than 92 percent of New York state nursing homes were cited for at least one deficiency in 2014, according to a study by Families for Better Care, Inc., a Tallahassee, Florida, nonprofit advocacy organization for nursing home patients. That finding does not exactly instill confidence in New York families seeking safe and nurturing homes for their beloved elders who need institutional care for age-related illness or disability.

For the past two years, Families for Better Care has published studies of annual nursing home safety and quality data for each state and the District of Columbia, called the Nursing Home Report Card. The group uses eight measures based on staffing, performance and complaint data from three sources:

  • Kaiser Health Foundation
  • Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Nursing Home Compare
  • Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Averaged scores are ranked by state and assigned letter grades based on comparative positions in the ranking.

Unfortunately, in 2014, the New York state report card cites that the state came in at 45 th place for the second year in a row, a solid "F" grade overall. Individual New York measures for 2014 were:

  • Facilities with severe deficiencies: B
  • Facilities with deficiencies: C
  • Health inspections above average: C
  • Direct care staffing hours per resident: D
  • Professional nursing hours per resident: D
  • Direct care staffing above average: F
  • Professional nurse staffing above average: F
  • Verified ombudsman complaints: F

Many of the problems cited in New York and nationwide would improve with adequate staffing levels, reports Executive Director Brian Lee.

His belief is echoed by the findings of New York's Long Term Care Community Coalition or LTCCC, which believes that robust staffing levels are "key to quality of care and quality of life ..." The organization states that in New York nursing homes low staffing is "an especially serious and longstanding problem."

So what kinds of problems can low staffing and other institutional deficiencies cause for residents? Family members and loved ones of nursing home patients must always be on alert for signs of maltreatment. Abuse and neglect can take many forms, including physical, psychological, financial, sexual and more. In the worst cases, even wrongful death can result.

Signs, symptoms and types of elder abuse, neglect or nursing home negligence can include bedsores; malnutrition and dehydration; unexplained cuts, scratches or bruises; broken bones; inadequate hygiene; isolation; falls; assaults; theft of property or money; shifts in patient behavior, including withdrawal, crying or personality changes; medication errors; failure to provide necessary medical care; and more.

Of course, sometimes securing the safety of the individual, calling emergency services or reporting nursing home abuse to governmental vulnerable adult intake services are the first appropriate responses, but is it also important to contact a personal injury attorney with experience representing elder abuse victims and their families.

Legal counsel can launch a private investigation on behalf of the patient, including securing records and interviewing witnesses in anticipation of a possible lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.

From their New York City law office near Grand Central Station, the lawyers of Keogh Crispi, P.C., represent elder abuse victims and other personal injury clients throughout NYC, the surrounding areas and the state.

Keywords: New York, nursing home, quality, safety, Families for Better Care, Nursing Home Report Card, data, staffing, F, elder abuse, neglect, injury, death

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