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What to know about Ohio’s nursing homes

Ohio has the third most number of nursing facilities in the country, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, with nearly 960 in the Buckeye state in 2015, the latest year on record. What this means is that a large percentage of Ohioans are either in a nursing home or have family or loved ones in such a facility.

Ohio’s nursing homes have been in the news a lot lately, and not solely for good reasons. In particular, Ohio’s inspection agency—tasked with examining all of the state’s nursing homes to ensure that proper standards of care are maintained—is understaffed by more than a dozen employees and has failed to meet federal deadlines for years in regards to examining facilities, according to The Plain Dealer.

The state and conditions of Ohio’s nursing homes
One of the key deadlines for the state’s nursing homes has not been met since 2011, in tune with the fact that Ohio is the nation’s fourth worst state when it comes to the average time between inspections of the same facility.

Under-staffing and inexperience among inspectors can lead to problems for the residents of nursing homes, as inspectors often act as the sole system of checks-and-balances on the institutions. They are often supposed to act like advocates for those in nursing homes, pushing towards better and consistent standards of care. In a state in which the federal government rated every two out of five nursing homes as below the standard of care, having more inspectors can increase the pressure on facilities to do right by their patients.

What does a nursing home inspection consist of?

Nursing home inspectors in our state are tasked with investigating more than 2,000 yearly complaints. But what exactly does a visit by an inspector—sometimes referred to as a surveyor—entail?

In particular, they are supposed to:

• Tour the facility and interview at least 40% of residents on issues including care and concerns.
• Review staffing levels.
• Review records, including those pertaining to the process of storing and distributing medication.
• Evaluate the care plans and assessments and ensure they are up to standard
• Observe the dining facilities
• Review infection control plans.

How to decide on the right nursing home?

This question can be difficult for many families, especially considering the fact that many of Ohio’s nursing homes are under inspected. To make efforts easier, The Plain Dealer recently ran a report showcasing the top-rated nursing homes in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. 

However, if you suspect your loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home, contacting a lawyer may help expedite the process and improve the care and facilities for those involved.

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