University of Illinois Report: Private nursing home residents more likely to be diagnosed with neglect issues

University of Illinois Report: Private nursing home residents more likely to be diagnosed with neglect issues

Residents receiving care in private assisted living facilities are almost twice as likely to experience health issues caused by substandard care compared with clients living in nonprofit nursing homes. These findings belong to a team of scientists led by Lee Friedman, associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

Published in the journal Gerontology, their report is the most comprehensive to date on this issue. Friedman and his colleagues looked at medical records of 1,149 patients aged 60 and older from five Chicago area hospitals, from 2007 and 2011.

Patients included in the study visited those hospital for issues that could be linked to poor quality care and they came from three different types of facilities. Some were community-dwelling residents who live in private homes, but are accompanied by a family member or a friend. The two other groups were nonprofit facility residents and people living in private nursing homes.

Friedman used Clinical Signs of Neglect Scale (CSNS), a scale developed by him to quantify health problems related to substandard care.

The scientists discovered alarming signs of neglect in Illinois private nursing homes. “Severe dehydration in clients with feeding tubes which should have been managed, clients with stage 3 and 4 bed sores, broken catheters and feeding tubes, and clients whose medication for chronic conditions was not being managed properly,” Friedman said.

What’s more, the study shows that for-profit facilities are severely understaffed and underpaid, and need to take care of more residents than their peers working for nonprofit nursing homes and residents are the first to suffer.

Simply put, these findings do not make for good Illinois healthcare news.  

New federal data supports Friedman’s study. Seniors living in nursing homes are often left unattended, especially during the weekends, the worst staffed days at nursing homes.

Technology could help solve the country’s shortage of nurses. Tech innovations with great potential include include telemedicine, webcams installed in patients’ rooms, devices for specific needs, such as high-tech silverware or drug delivery devices such as bioresorbable stents.

In addition the digital transformation of healthcare can augment care staff, increase workflows, and put the focus back on providing patients with quality care.

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