Local News

Study: Low marks for half of N.C. nursing homes

Posted December 18, 2008

— More than a quarter of North Carolina's nursing homes are "much below average," according to a federal rating system that begins Thursday.

The new system, intended to help families and caregivers easily compare the quality of nursing homes, rates the facilities on a one- to five-star scale in three categories -- health inspections, staffing and quality measures.

Those ratings are then averaged for an overall rating.

Out of the 419 nursing homes in the state, 119 received one star, considered much below average. Sixty-eight or more received two stars – below average – and 56 received five stars, the highest rating.

The low ratings reflect high staff turnover, bedsores, patient restraints and unrelieved pain.

National trade groups, however, say the rating system uses data that could be inaccurate or incomplete.

Officials in the long-term-care industry say the rating system shouldn't be the only factor in making a decision. They say visiting facilities is important part of the decision-making process.

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  • yvette Dec 18, 2008

    It is about time to look into nursing home treatment of their patients. My grandmother had to stay in one for the last four months of her life. They were so neglectful. Almost everyday when I went in there she sitting in wet pants. The last week in the facility I told them everyday to get a doctor to look at her, and they gave me a run around either the doctor was not available or he order medicine without seeing her. She was finally seen by a doctor when she was sent to the hospital with pnemonia, which she did from a week later. There was nothing legal I could do because I did not have the power of attorney.

  • amyrn Dec 18, 2008

    Rest homes (assisted living)are not the same as Nursing (skilled care) homes. However, many places do accept patients who require more care than what an assisted living care is capable of giving. The star rating is a good starting point for choosing a home but don't just go by that. In addition, beginning in January, the State will be listing star ratings for assisted living homes. And if you have problems, you can always call the hot lines and make a report.

  • Student Nurse Dec 18, 2008

    AtALost, you are so right. My mother had to go to a skilled nursing facility for REHAB after her stroke. They were supposed to get her back on her feet. She was neglected, got admitted to the ICU with malnutrition, deydration, severe UTI...turned into sepsis and she died. She was only 70. No one can say that rehab center didn't kill her. No one.

  • AtALost Dec 18, 2008

    I could have told them this for free. My father used to be in a rest home in NE Raleigh. Despite the mantra that they attend to patients every 2 hours, it was usually over 3 hours when I was there to witness it. Based on the drool, heavily soiled pajamas (totally soaked thru the diaper) and look on his face when I arrived, I suspect there were many days where he went much longer without care. One lady screamed for help to go to the restroom. When I found someone to help her, they responded "she has on a diaper". When I mentioned it, she responded "I don't want to have to sit in it all day". We complained to admin but the laws only require 'adequate care'. One man said he could smell his mother before he got in her room. As long as we pay daycare/rest home workers next to nothing, this will continue. I even heard one orderly (1 of 3 concealed behind a curtain) threaten to get someone to beat a patient. I'll be looking into assisted euthanasia when I get old.