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Fewer complaints about nursing home care investigated in New York

A new report found that fewer complaints regarding poor care in nursing homes are being investigated in New York.

When you make the difficult decision to entrust the care of your loved one to a nursing home, it is understandable that you would subsequently be concerned about the quality of care. Unfortunately, New York long-term care facilities have not had the best track record. To make matters worse, a recent report revealed that complaints about nursing homes often are not addressed appropriately in New York.

In New York, complaints regarding nursing home care are handled by the ombudsman program. The program is funded by both state and federal money.

Although New York has the most nursing home residents in the country, the ombudsman program receives less funding than most similar programs across the United States. For instance, California receives about 15 times more state funding for its ombudsman program than New York, despite having far fewer residents in long-term care facilities.

Consequently, according to a recent report - conducted by the Long Term Care Community Coalition - the ombudsman program in New York handled 80 percent fewer complaints in 2012 than in 2007. In addition, the number of volunteer ombudsmen in New York dropped by 14 percent from 2007 to 2012.

Some claim the significant drop in complaints is due to changes in guidelines regarding what constitutes a complaint and an increase in families being proactive on behalf of their loved ones. Critics of the program disagree, however, pointing to New York's poor standard of care in nursing homes. New York received a failing score in a report card issued by Families for Better Care, which evaluated nursing homes in every state. Therefore, common sense would dictate that New York would have more complaints to handle than many other states.

Protect your loved one from neglect or abuse in a nursing home

In fact, another report - issued by the Department of Health and Human Services -found that one out of every five Medicare beneficiaries residing in nursing homes for short periods suffered so-called adverse events, which could have led to complaints. Among the problems encountered by residents, included:

  • Medication errors
  • Falls
  • Infections caused by contaminated equipment

According to medical professionals, almost 60 percent of the adverse events suffered by these residents could have been avoided.

If you believe your loved one has been neglected or abused while in the care of a nursing home, you should take action on his or her behalf. Contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to discuss your options.

Keywords: New York, nursing homes, neglect, abuse