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Legislature Examines Report Finding Nevada Nursing Home Care Among Worst in the Nation

A 2013 report focusing on nursing home care in states across the nation ranked the quality of Nevada’s nursing homes as 43 out of 51 states – among the worst in the nation. Last week, the results of the 2013 Nursing Home Report Card, prepared by Families for Better Care, became a subject of discussion for Nevada’s Legislative Committee on Senior Citizens, Veterans and Adults With Special Needs. According to a local news report, the legislature is interested in uncovering the reasons why Nevada’s nursing home care facilities earned an “F” grade as compared with other states throughout the nation.

The report indicates that every single Nevada nursing home has been cited by inspectors for deficiencies – earning Nevada the title of the worst ranked state (a title shared with Washington, D.C.) in the category of facilities with deficiencies. More than one third of those citations were for “severe” deficiencies, defined as “immediate jeopardy or actual harm violations that resulted in resident injury, abuse, neglect, or death.” This finding evidences “a profundity of abuse and neglect sweeping through Nevada nursing homes.”

In August 2013, the Las Vegas Review Journal identified some of the severe deficiencies cited by inspectors at Nevada nursing home facilities in 2012. For example, at College Park Rehabilitation Center in North Las Vegas, two serious incidents involved the facility’s failure to properly administer medications. A resident at Horizon Health and Rehabilitation Center, also in Las Vegas, died after he did not have a bowel movement for four days, although he was observed holding his stomach and indicating an issue. Another Las Vegas facility discharged a resident who still required skilled nursing care. The resident was then taken to a hospital for shortness of breath, and later found to be “clinically brain dead.”

Based upon the 2013 report, Nevada also ranked the worst in the nation, alongside Illinois, for the number of direct resident care staff hours, with less than two hours and eight minutes per day afforded to direct care of nursing home residents. And, with only 23% of its facilities scoring above average on health inspections, every other state in the nation, plus Washington, D.C., scored higher than Nevada in that category.

Nevada’s ranking placed it in the company of ten other states deemed to be the “bottom of the barrel” as the states with the lowest ranked nursing homes in the nation, each state having earned a failing grade. Alarmingly, Families for Better Care noted that residents in 1 in 5 nursing homes were abused, neglected, or mistreated by staff in nearly half of the states. Such residents often suffer from bed sores, dehydration, malnutrition, and injuries from falls at the facility.

The state’s poor evaluation now has the attention of the Nevada legislature. Further assessments of the quality of Nevada nursing home facilities is warranted, followed by action by the state to better enforce minimum care regulations and oversee the proper care of Nevada’s elderly during their most vulnerable time.