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POTUS promises new emphasis on quality nursing home care

Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, there is no doubt that the president’s recent State of the Union (SOTU) address included some relevant changes ahead for both nursing home and long-term care residents and those who own and operate the facilities.

During the SOTU, the president promised to focus on the facilities’ private equity ownership interests and bring more oversight from the federal Medicate program. He stated, “As Wall Street firms take over more nursing homes, the quality in those homes has gone down and costs have gone up. That ends on my watch.”

Raised standards could provide added protection

The president stated that with higher Medicare standards for residential facilities for those needing medical oversight, the quality of care would be higher due to a more frequent and extensive inspection process.

In the SOTU address, there were 20 rules, measures and emphatic points stated to boost the efficacy of the industry and the patients’ quality of life. Below are some key points to follow.

More staffing equals better safety

It should come as no surprise that when more staff members are working to meet the needs of nursing home residents, those residents receive better quality care. With new staffing minimums in place, Medicare payments could increase in higher-performing facilities while those failing to at least meet minimum standards would see a major uptick in financial penalties. They would jump from $21K to a million dollars for each incident.

Additional private rooms for residents

Some residents enjoy having roommates and get along well with their roommates. However, that can never be a given. Some residents wind up bullied by roommates, with their own needs subjugated by the stronger-willed roommate. By adding more private rooms, the residents’ experiences of life in a nursing home should get better.

Curtail inappropriate use of antipsychotics

These types of drugs can be used as chemical restraints on residents in nursing homes simply to quiet them for the purposes of the facilities and their staff members. While that might make life easier for administrators and staff, it is unfairly punitive to the residents.

Changes take time

Any federal changes take time to implement. If you know or suspect that a nursing home resident is being treated abusively, you may need to seek legal redress to right any wrongs.