Latest California Healthline Stories
Death and its companion, grief, are often ignored at nursing homes and assisted living centers, yet ignoring the loss can lead to depression, staff burnout and other problems.
The study follows a Kaiser Health News and New York Times investigation that found nearly 1,400 nursing homes have reported fewer registered nurses on duty than Medicare requires or failed to provide reliable staffing information to the government.
Low staffing is a root cause of many injuries in nursing homes. Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Jordan Rau explains how he connected the dots between manpower and risk at facilities nationwide, using a federa tool known as the Payroll-Based Journal.
Medicare said those homes either lacked a registered nurse for “a high number of days” over three months, provided data the government couldn’t verify or didn’t supply their payroll data at all.
Daily nursing home payroll records just released by the federal government show the number of nurses and aides dips far below average on some days and consistently plummets on weekends. A new California law increases minimum staffing standards at nursing homes, but critics say it doesn’t go far enough.
Use this tool to see staffing levels at skilled nursing homes in California.
Nationally, one in five Medicare patients who leave the hospital for a nursing home end up back in the hospital. In California, one-fifth of the more than 1,200 nursing homes send at least 24 percent of their Medicare patients back to the hospital. To discourage this trend, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will soon give bonuses and penalties to facilities based on their rehospitalization rates.
The scathing report cites a significant increase in cases of poor care — especially ones with the potential to cause serious injuries or death. A state lawmaker called the findings “very, very disturbing.”
State says its new site is easier to navigate, though it remains a work in progress. Advocates for nursing home patients call it “a huge step in the wrong direction” that could endanger people’s lives.
California officials should have obtained federal approval before they cut reimbursement rates for dental hygienists who serve frail Californians living in nursing homes and board-and-care facilities, a judge has ruled.