3/26/02 - Consumer Watch List of Nursing Homes

 Consumer Reports magazine has placed one-third of the nation's nursing homes on a watch list for violating federal guidelines. Seven of those homes are in the Heartland, in Southern Illinois. It includes Senior Manor Nursing Center in Sparta, Magnolia Manor Skilled Nursing Facility in Metropolis, and Creal Springs Nursing Home in Creal Springs. City Care Center in Anna also made the list, along with Brookside Manor in Centralia, Meridian Manor in Mounds, and Cardinal Health Care in Energy. So what aren't these homes doing and what do these violations mean? Only three of those seven nursing homes would talk to us about the violations they were given. We went to one of the homes Tuesday, to hear what they had to say.

The report looked at five common areas. These areas included violations for serving unsanitary food, not providing adequate quality of care, having hazardous conditions in the facility, not helping residents with chronic bedsores, and not giving resident's a care plan. One of the violators is Meridian Manor, it's also Anita Beno's home. She says, "Everybody's so nice." Meridian Manor Administrator Jane Flournoy says, "This is their home and we try to do everything to make them more happy and comfortable." But last year, Illinois state inspectors found that Meridian Manor was in violation of three different rules. Inspectors say they failed to keep resident's medical records private, that resident’s rooms were too small, and they failed to tell resident's doctors the results of lab tests. They're just three of a long list of codes nursing homes have to pass to get a good inspection.

Depending on the violation, state inspectors give nursing home facilities thirty days to clear the violation up before they're fined, that's what happened at Meridian Manor. Flournoy says since their facility is thirty years old, they were waived of the violation concerning the rooms' size. She says the other violations were cleared up within days of the inspection. Flournoy acknowledges it's something that can't be avoided, and has to be done. "They have a job to do, they look in the charts, in the rooms and interview the residents. We have a good relationship with the inspector and usually everything goes pretty good."

Before anyone chooses a nursing home for themselves, or for a loved one, you should do research on the facility and visit the home several times before you make a decision.