10/9/13 - Nursing Home Caution

10/9/13 - Nursing Home Caution
Click map to enlarge
Click map to enlarge

If you are considering a nursing home for yourself or for a loved one you are not alone. In the next 10 years the current nursing home population of more than 1.5 million Americans is expected to grow by nearly 40%.

A recent study by the organization Families for Better Care raises questions about the quality of care provided in nursing homes across the country and it should be on your radar as you consider which facility you choose for long term care. Missouri and Illinois both ranked near the bottom in the country in overall nursing home care. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas were not far behind.

You will see on the map, the states in red get an "F" rating. Those in pink get a "D"rating. A number of factors contribute to the overall grade. One of the key factors is staffing. Nursing homes that provide a lot of professional nurses and frontline caregivers get the best grades. Widespread abuse and neglect cause low scores. The study found that one in five nursing homes abused, neglected, or mistreated residents in almost half of all states.

Of course, not all individual nursing homes get low scores. There are some excellent nursing homes in the Heartland. However, this report card should be a wake-up call for state lawmakers to make sure safeguards are put in place to protect elderly and disabled residents

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