Pennsylvania is among the states with the highest percentage of people aged 65 and older. As elderly relatives become less able to care for themselves, many families must turn to long-term care facilities and nursing homes to handle elderly loved ones’ care to ensure their safety.
Unfortunately, a national report gives Pennsylvania low scores for nursing home quality, with some of the lowest scoring nursing homes on the list in the Philadelphia area. That makes it all the more important for families in Pennsylvania to make well-informed choices when screening nursing homes for a loved one.
To assist you in finding the best quality care for aging relatives, the Colleran Firm has assembled some information about how to find independent evaluations of the nursing homes you are considering and how to recognize the signs of nursing home neglect and abuse.
AARP Nursing Homes Rankings
The American Association of Retired People (AARP) recently published its second edition state scorecard ranking nursing homes and long term care facilities for seniors throughout the United States. While several states lead the way in terms of providing quality, affordable care, many states fall short, including Pennsylvania. The AARP scorecard rates long-term care facilities it surveys in five key areas:
- Affordability and access—the out-of-pocket and insurance costs of providing nursing home care for a loved one;
- Choice of setting—the range of care options available, such as home nurse aides, assisted living, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities;
- Quality of life and quality of care—a measure of the support provided to seniors living in assisted care homes in meeting medical, social, intellectual, and emotional needs;
- Support for family caregivers—the services offered for families of residents, as well as the stress involved in filling out insurance forms and meeting requirements for services at each facility;
- Effective transitions— the level of care residents need, the percent of residents requiring hospitalization each year, and whether they are able to transition back into their communities.
In terms of nursing homes and long-term care facilities scorecard rankings, Pennsylvania ranked 42nd out of 50 states in terms of the overall quality of elder care services offered. The state scored particularly low in terms of providing care that is affordable and accessible for families in our communities.
The rankings for nursing home facilities in Pennsylvania in each of the five key areas are as follows:
- Affordability and Access: 46 out of 50
- Choice of Setting and Provider: 25 out of 50
- Quality of Life & Quality of Care: 37 out of 50
- Support for Family Caregivers: 36 out of 50
- Effective Transitions: 28 out of 50.
These figures do not address specific cases involving nursing home abuse and neglect. But they do offer an overall picture of the general quality of care experienced in long-term care facilities and rehabilitation centers in our area.
Philadelphia’s Worst Nursing Homes
As America’s baby boomers reach retirement age, many families find themselves juggling the demands of work and home while caring for elderly family members.
There are several resources to help families in Pennsylvania identify the most suitable nursing home or rehabilitation facility for a loved one:
- The Pennsylvania Department of Health allows online searches for nursing homes by size and location;
- The Pennsylvania Agency on Aging allows you to search for homes within your community;
- Propublica.org’s Nursing Home Inspect allows you to search nursing home inspection reports.
A number of studies point to an association between nursing home staffing and the quality of care. Pennsylvania has a standard of 2.7 hours of care per resident per day, which includes care by registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nurses’ assistants.
The number of hours of care varies from facility to facility. Some nursing home facilities try to increase profits by operating with thinner staffs. The Pennsylvania Department of Health publishes on its website the number of nursing hours that each facility provides. It is one useful measure of care for comparing facilities.
In addition, the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently unveiled its Nursing Home Compare tool. The tool offers a five-star rating system on criteria such as staffing, inspections, and overall quality of specific facilities. A search for the Philadelphia area revealed a number of long-term care facilities that received an overall average of one or two stars, meaning the standard for services provided was either below or much below the national average.
Learn to Recognize Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every 10 senior citizens suffers from elder abuse or neglect. For every reported case, there are as many as 20 others that go unreported.
To protect your aging family members and loved ones, the following are signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect to watch for:
- Unexplained welts, bruises, and cuts;
- Bedsores and rashes;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Dehydration or nutritional deficiencies;
- Depression and anxiety issues;
- Withdrawal from activities and social functions.
Let Us Assist You Today
At the Colleran Firm, our elder abuse lawyers understand how families can be torn apart when elder abuse occurs. If you suspect someone you care about is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Colleran Firm today. Our experienced elder abuse lawyers provide compassionate guidance to families and the aggressive legal representation you need in these situations. We serve Philadelphia and the surrounding areas; call or contact our office online today for a free and confidential consultation.