They discovered that 15 percent of the facilities had been cited for a deficiency in infection control.
This is important because nearly 400,000 people die each year from infections.
More than 400 infection-related citations were in facilities that had low staffing of registered nurses, nurse aides and licensed practical nurses. From the study results, it appears that understaffing can be a big reason for the lack of infection control.
Could it be as simple as nurses being too busy to wash their hands?
It also was learned that those facilities cited for lack of infection control had a poor rating of care in general.
If you have Medicare, there are places online you can look for ratings information as part of your search for a good nursing home. Medicare-eligible facilities are rated on the www.Medicare.gov site. Called Nursing Home Compare, the website uses the five-star system to rate nursing homes in areas such as fire safety, health inspection, nursing staff levels and others. Do a search by ZIP code or city/state of the area you’re interested in.
To be eligible for Medicare, these facilities must have an annual inspection and be recertified. As always, know what Medicare will and won’t pay for.
Generally, nursing homes (skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities) are for short stays. If you need long-term care, perhaps for assistance with daily living, investigate at-home services.
On the Medicare.gov website you’ll also find information such as the “Nursing Home Checklist” and “Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home.”
Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to email@example.com. (c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.