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Nursing homes and hospices can be dangerous places for patients

Nursing homes in Ohio and throughout the nation are designed to provide care to those who can't care for themselves. However, reports indicate that some facilities are putting their residents' lives in danger by offering substandard care. In many cases, state and federal government agencies don't have the resources to go after these facilities and hold them accountable for their actions.

When a nursing home is discovered to be offering poor care, it goes into the Special Focus Facilities (SFF) program. The program is overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and any nursing home that is part of the SFF is subject to greater oversight from the CMS. These locations will be inspected every six months as opposed to once a year. However, only 88 can be on the SFF list at any given time even though there are over 400 additional facilities that need greater oversight.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General, there are about 300 hospices deemed to be offering poor care. Advocates say that hospices should make it easier for employees to make reports of abuse and neglect. Other suggestions include stronger patient harm reporting requirements as well as helping staff members better identify and report instances of patient neglect.

The family of someone who experiences a nursing home injury may want to take legal action against the facility where those injuries occurred. This may be possible if an injury was caused by abuse or neglect. Examples of neglect include not feeding a resident or failing to move that person regularly. Medical records and patient statements could be used to prove that negligence resulted in a resident experiencing broken bones, bruises or sores.

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