More than once in the past five years, Texas has been ranked as one of the worst states in the U.S. for nursing home care. One such rating should be bad enough, but a continuing trend of poor ratings begs the question, Will Texas ever fix its nursing home problem? Read on to learn more about the problems with Texas nursing homes, as well as what you can do to protect the rights of your elderly loved ones.
Texas Nursing Home Problems
Every year, states are ranked in terms of nursing home quality. The information gathered on a statewide basis is then compared to the national average, painting a picture of how nursing homes perform across the U.S. Primarily, this information is used to assess nursing homes that are certified by Medicaid or Medicare programs.
Three out of the past five years, Texas has been ranked one of the worst states for nursing home quality. In May 2015, data from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found the following:
- 8 out of 10 Texas nursing homes failed to meet or surpass an “above average” health inspection rating
- Texas nursing homes did not receive any “above average” grades in any category reviewed, and completely failed in 6 of the 8.
- 95 percent of Texas nursing homes have been cited for violations of state and/or federal law violations.
- Only 12 percent of Texas nursing homes earned a 5-star rating
- 28 percent of Texas nursing homes earned a 1-star rating
- Specifically related to staffing, 35 percent of Texas nursing homes earned a 1-star rating, meaning that a large portion of nursing homes do not have adequate nursing staff or Registered Nurse (RN) hours to meet the needs of residents.
Medicaid and Medicare Considerations
Medicaid benefits pay for 60 percent of nursing home residents. Further, the vast majority of nursing home residents receive Medicare benefits, making these two programs extremely important to the elderly community. What current research is showing is that many nursing homes across the nation (one-third) are failing to meet the requirements set by the federal government in order for them to participate and be certified to accept Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
Not only does low-star quality ratings indicate violations of state and federal requirements, it is also a sign that nursing home residents may not be getting the care and attention that they deserve and have a legal right to.
What Texas Nursing Home Problems Mean for Your Family
If you have an elderly loved one who needs care beyond what you can provide or requires temporary rehabilitation, a nursing home may be the best option for your family. Unfortunately, you may find it difficult to find a facility that meets your expectations. Further, you may find yourself constantly concerned about your loved one and unsure of how to recognize warning signs or get help if you suspect they are not receiving proper care.
To help, we have compiled a list of common warning signs that you can watch out for that may indicate inadequate care, abuse, or neglect. Consider the following:
Resident Warning Signs
- Unexplained bruising, bleeding, wounds, or burns
- Sudden changes in weight, eating habits, or dehydration
- Poor hygiene, such as soiled clothing, unsanitary room conditions, or body odor
- Infections or bedsores
- Signs of depression, withdrawal, or fearfulness
- Unexplained changes in financial situation or disappearance of personal property
Facility Warning Signs
- Odor of urine or feces in public or resident areas
- Dirty or poorly maintained buildings and grounds
- Torn carpeting, bad lighting, or other mobility hazards
- Staff unavailable by telephone, or not visible/available during visits
- Staff refusing to answer questions or leave resident’s room during visits
- Nursing staff unavailable to answer questions or address concerns
- Overcrowding of resident rooms or common areas
- Poor health and safety ratings or grades
Just because one or more of these warning signs is present does not necessarily mean that your loved one is being abused. It may, however, be enough reason for you to consider your options and learn more about your loved one’s legal right to a safe, quality nursing home environment and level of care.
Getting Help with Nursing Home Concerns
We cannot change the ratings and problems with Texas nursing homes. What we can do is continue to be devoted to the rights of elderly Texans and their families. Whether you are concerned about substandard care, or have proof that your loved one has been abused or neglected, our team can help you understand state and federal laws and take action to defend the rights of you and your loved ones.
We manage nursing home abuse and neglect cases, including cases involving:
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Elopement or wandering
- Medication errors
- Wrongful death
Our team has successfully litigated numerous cases involving these, and many other, areas of nursing home abuse or neglect. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients by taking an aggressive approach in holding accountable those who harm our clients and their families.
Contact Texas Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
If you are concerned about the health and safety of your loved one, contact us today. Our team has the skills and resources you need to determine if your loved one is being abused or neglected, explore legal options, and get the results that you need to protect your family. Do not let your situation overwhelm you when you do not have to face it alone. We are here to help!