All active news articles
New Resources Available for Rating Florida Nursing Homes
January 3, 2013 | WMFE - One of the hardest decisions a family member can make is to put a loved one in a nursing home. But after making that decision, there's another important choice: which facilty to choose. An advocacy group for patients and families says twenty percent of the state's nursing homes are on the state's watch list. A new internet site is the latest tool for those looking for nursing home ratings and the state already offers resource sites to rate the facilities but many health experts say it's still not enough.
"She's been dropped, she's fallen out of bed, she's had MRSA, had to have a toe amputated." Odom says.
MRSA is a serious infection that resists most antibiotics. Most recently, Odom says her mother had kidney failure, a result of dehydration.
Brian Lee, executive director for Families for Better Care, says that is unacceptable.
Lee says the problem lies in the fact that many people don't know how to access information on nursing home violations and it can be difficult.
"What the agency needs to do, if they've identified a nursing home to be on a watch list, is to send a press release to the local community.” Lee says. “They need to alert people within the nursing home, the residents themselves, they probably don't know and their families don’t know. Something needs to happen that will incentivize these nursing homes to provide better care for their residents."
AHCA officials say they don't put out information on nursing homes that are on the watch list because that information is available on its website.
Websites like Nursing Home Inspect 2.0, a database created by the non-profit journalism organization ProPublica, makes it easier to search fines that nursing homes have had to pay and to read reports of violations. The information comes from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The nursing home industry doesn't like the new site because it focuses on only the negative. LuMarie Polivka-West, senior director of policy and program development for Florida Healthcare Association says it's misleading.
She says nursing homes always get a bad reputation for reasons that often have nothing to do with their level of care.
Polivka-West says, over the past two years, federal data shows that quality ratings for Florida nursing facilities have improved with the number of top facilities increasing. Meanwhile, the number of centers that got the lowest ratings has decreased.
She says the best way to pick a home for a loved one is simple: Visit it, talk to the residents, talk to the staff.
Use the information from the web sites, she says, but don't rely entirely on what you read there.