There are a large number of nursing homes that do not provide adequate care for residents. And sadly, many cases of abuse and neglect at such facilities goes unreported.

According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) offices did not receive key information concerning investigations into nursing home abuse. These investigations took place over 15 years.

It’s the responsibility of CMS to monitor such abuse. Such monitoring includes assuring that nursing homes comply with quality standards. But while CMS can take action against nursing homes not in compliance, no consequences will occur if information remains unavailable to them.

Recommendations to improve on quality nursing home care

GAO made three separate recommendations to improve upon the investigation of complaints:

  1. CMS needs to reevaluate process in all states into the investigation of complaints
  2. There need to be additional options for identifying ways to capture information regarding nursing home complaints
  3. CMS needs to communicate that there is a lack of data about abuse in Oregon nursing homes

Readers need to keep in mind that inadequate nursing home care involves the neglect of patients in addition to abuse. As many patients may suffer from dementia and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, they may not be able to communicate abuse or neglect to family and friends. The inability to communicate makes such patients vulnerable.

Skilled attorneys can investigate these matters to make certain there is accountability for inadequate care. Investigations of even a single incident may reveal a pattern of abuse, and this can result in helping countless other patients.

The steps GAO suggests are only a beginning. We need to hold nursing homes accountable for abuse and neglect to ensure the problem ends.