Many people dream of the “Golden Years,” when they will be able to retire and reap the fruits of many hard years of labor. Unfortunately, many people are forced for various reasons into nursing homes where they are under supervision in order to promote their well-being.
This is not the ideal situation many had planned for the latter part of their life. While this is sad enough in itself, what compounds the problem is the fact that many nursing homes provide woefully inadequate service to their patrons. Sadly, the majority of nursing homes in this state fail to meet federal standards for adequate care.
In 2003, over 90% of Arkansas nursing homes violated federal health standards. Furthermore, one-third of these nursing homes had violations that caused actual harm to patrons or placed them in danger of death or serious injury. The violations in Arkansas nursing homes varied. However, in failing to meet standards for adequate care, nursing homes were cited for failing to provide proper medical care, including failure to prevent and treat pressure sores, failing to ensure that residents receive adequate nutrition and hydration, and for failing to prevent abuse, mistreatment, and neglect of residents. Compounding these problems is the fact that 92% of nursing homes in Arkansas failed to meet minimum staffing levels.
Only 13 nursing homes in Arkansas in 2003 were found to be in full or substantial compliance with federal health requirements. Given these facts, it is disconcerting to realize that the study conducted in Arkansas may not fully disclose the extent of the problem. The study mentioned that “one-third of state inspections occurred on a predictable schedule.” Because of this, homes had adequate notice to “conceal problems if they chose to do so.”
Many of us have had to go through the situation of putting a loved one in the nursing home. This is a sad situation, because we know that this is not the way that our loved one wanted to spend the rest of their life. In insuring that this sad situation is not made worse through inadequate care, it is important that one remain abreast of the facts about nursing home care in this state. Further, we should make frequent visits to our loved ones to ensure that they are receiving adequate care. No one should spend his or her “Golden Years” in neglect.