Nursing Homes Accepting Medicare and Medicaid Need to Be Safer
The United States Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services has upgraded the regulations regarding nursing home safety. Nursing Homes accepting Medicare and Medicaid are now required to do everything they can to make the facilities as free from hazards that cause accidents as possible. This means doing what is needed to avoid fall accidents and other types of accidents that commonly occur within the facilities.
Nursing Homes accepting Medicare and Medicaid must ensure they identify hazards, evaluate the hazard, intervene, and then monitor the effect of that intervention.
While not all accidents are avoidable, there are many that are. In order for a nursing home to make their facility safer, nursing home accepting Medicare and Medicaid need to eliminate the hazard or install safety measures (i.e. hand rails) to do everything possible to avoid an accident.
Those that operate the facility and those that work within it have certain responsibilities in ensuring that residents are safe. The whole idea is to promote quality of life and allow them to make choices about their life within the facility. An accident, however, can severely compromise quality of life. It can be more disturbing when the accident could have been prevented.
In order to prevent accidents, the hazards need to be evaluated for their potential to cause harm. Sometimes the benefits can outweigh the risks and this means the situation requires careful monitoring. If the risks outweigh the benefits, then intervention is going to have to occur.
If a hazard is only dangerous to an individual resident, it is fair to allow that resident to make choices about that hazard if it is something that benefits them. If a group is affected, then the group can work together to make a choice or submit their opinions regarding the situation.
However, consent by a resident or a representative of that resident does not mean the provider is not responsible for ensuring the safety, health, and welfare of the residents. Federal regulations do state that the residents have the right to participate in their care plan and to refuse treatment, but the resident doesn’t have the right to participate in any care planning that would lead to injury of others.
Some of the most common reasons for injuries in nursing homes include improper assist, medication errors, reactions to medications that could have been prevented, improper supervision, and symptoms of bed rest issues not being recognized. Obstacles, wet floors, improper assist or lack of assist, and lack of support rails are common causes for falls. Falls are actually driving healthcare costs up significantly.