Nursing Home Quality

istock_000021221896smallDue to Medicare requirements, elderly in need of care are often times presented with limited nursing home choices. Medicare’s requirement states that patients’ choices cannot be restricted. Because of this, hospitals have been providing a very short list of homes to limit their costs. Rather than letting the patient choose their residence of choice, they compile an index of homes that are local and have free space: despite the fact that they may have poor quality ratings. Not only are the patients more likely to face inadequate care and maltreatment, they are also at a higher risk for infection, bed sores, etc.

However, there is currently a rule being drafted that could promote happier and healthier care for those in nursing homes. This rule mandates that hospitals share ALL data with patients, their families, and/or their representatives in order to find the best and most reasonable care possible. In Massachusetts, Partners Healthcare considers all aspects of a nursing home before endorsing it. They look into readmission rates, quality ratings, staffing, and more. Partners then provides a list of all nursing homes in the area for a patient, while noting their suggested options.

The Affordable Care Act has created financial incentives in order to encourage more attention on the subject of nursing home quality. If too many patients are readmitted within the month, the hospital’s funding will be cut. This Act will generate an overall better trust within the healthcare system, and will leave patients and their families feeling safer with their decisions.

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