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Nursing Home Negligence Leads to More Stringent Federal Rating System

On February 12, 2015, the federal government announced that it will begin to rate nursing homes more stringently. Nursing homes are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, and the new rules will make it more difficult for a nursing home to earn a 4- or 5-star rating. Thomas Hamilton, the director the group within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, which oversees the rating system said, "In effect, [the new changes] raises the standard for nursing homes to achieve a high rating."

Prior to these changes in policy, the federal government had long been criticized for its leniency in rating nursing homes and too often relying on the data provided directly from the nursing homes without doing its own independent audits. In response to this criticism, the federal government has implemented these changes in the way nursing homes are rated.

Indeed, too often families put their trust in nursing homes to care for their elder relatives, only for the nursing homes to too often fail to live up to their obligations to your loved ones. Indeed, the negligence of nursing homes may result in serious injury or even death.

One injury that is unfortunately all too common for those seniors in nursing homes is bedsores. Bedsores, which are also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, can often be prevented with the proper care. In this regard, when nursing homes follow proper protocol by providing patients with dry sheets, turning the patients and providing proper medication and nutrition, bedsores will be avoidable.

However, when nursing homes fail to follow proper protocol, a patient may develop bedsores, which can be very painful and result in scarring, amputation and even death. Significantly, the failure to follow such protocol may be a violation of New York and federal laws. A survey found that 14% of the high-risk patients of the approximately 117,000 New York nursing home residents suffer from bedsores, which resulted in New York nursing homes being rated among the lowest nationwide.

There are four stages of bedsores: Stage IV bedsore is the deepest and most serious stage, and the bedsore may extend from the skin to the muscle, tendon or bone; Stage III bedsores are likewise serious and may inhibit blood supply; Stage II bedsores are open wounds that may look like a bruise, and can typically heal quickly as long as there is medical attention; and Stage I bedsore will go away as long as the person is moved.

In addition to bedsores, patients at nursing homes may also be injured in other ways through the carelessness of negligence of the nursing home and its staff. This may include when a patient moves about the facility unassisted and falls, even though the nursing home knew that the patient was an at-risk patient.

The ratings of nursing homes can be seen on a federal website " Nursing Home Compare."

The website also contains more information on how the ratings system operates and the recent changes that were made.

If you or a family member has been injured at a nursing home, including suffering bedsores and/or falls, contact the lawyers at Louis Grandelli, P.C.

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