Nursing Home and Hospice Neglect May Go on Without Consequence

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The Special Focus Facilities program run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is supposed to help keep nursing home patients safe. However, the program is limited to overseeing just 88 struggling facilities at a time. This is in spite of the fact that a report found that 400 additional facilities could benefit from the SFF program. According to the report, the government knows that some nursing home residents in North Carolina and elsewhere are receiving substandard care.

However, because of budget restraints, there is little that can be done to solve the problem. Patients who are currently receiving hospice care could also be at risk for receiving poor care. A report found that 300 hospices were labeled as having a poor performance record. Of those facilities, 40 were called out for having an extended track record of poor performance.

Unlike hospitals, hospices don't have to report violations to government agencies on their own. Ultimately, this can result in crimes against patients that don't get reported to local authorities. In some cases, violations aren't reported because it could result in the hospice being closed. The CMS has suggested that reporting requirements be strengthened and that hospice employees be taught to identify signs of abuse or neglect. Additionally, the CMS suggested making it easier for hospice staff to file complaints.

The family of a loved one who has been injured because of nursing home neglect may pursue legal action. Neglect may occur if a patient doesn't receive the proper medication or is isolated from others in a facility. Photos, medical records and statements from staff could all be used to show that negligence occurred.

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