New York elder law planning seeks to ensure that residents will have access to the care they need as they age. Many in need of skilled day-to-day assistance end up moving into traditional nursing homes. These facilities provide the most hands-on monitoring outside of the hospital. Many seniors participating in the New York Medicaid program are admitted to these facilities
However, it is important to do your homework when deciding on the best possible nursing home for you or your loved one. Not all facilities are created alike. Unfortunately, in many ways New York City has a wealth of homes that fall below national averages on many proper care variables.
One of the most commons signs of chronically inadequate care involves pressure sore rates. Pressures sores–also called “bed sores” and “pressure ulcers”–are skin and tissue breakdowns caused by constant pressure of bone on certain parts of the body. Residents with mobility issues are most at risk of developing these sores, because they are often unable to reposition themselves sufficiently to relive the pressure on certain parts of their body. Ankles, hips, and buttocks are commonly the site of these sores. In the worst cases the breakdown runs deep, permanently exposing bone, causing severe pain, and sometimes leading to life-ended complications.
The rate of pressure sore development is a good indicator of overall quality of care at a facility, because the sores can almost always be prevented if proper care is provided. Frequent repositioning by direct-line care workers, steady hydration, and balanced nutrition are crucial ways to prevent the development.
Pressures Sores in New York City
Unfortunately, a new AARP report summarizing data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid reveal that New York City facilities are chronically behind national rates for sore development prevention. This is the case even though the state’s Department of Health declared a “War on Sore” six years ago. Each New York City elder law attorney appreciates that these statistics are incredibly troubling for those making long-term care plans for themselves or loved ones.
The New York World reported last week that New York City pressure sore development rates are almost 50% higher than the national average. Nationwide about 11% of residents develop sores; in New York City the rate is 16%. New York state is little different–ranking 44th in terms of preventing pressure sore development.
Recognizing the problem, state health officials tried to tackles the high rates. For example, three facilities received $800,000 in grant money in an effort to reduce pressure sores rates via careful daily documentation of resident conditions. Yet, each of those three homes showed an increase in pressure sore rates since receiving the grant money. At some of these homes more than 1 out of every 4 residents develops pressure sores.
For their part, officials for the nursing home argue that the rates do not account for residents who had the pressure sores before they arrived at the facility. The more important measure, they argue, is the rate of new development. That figure is much harder to come by, because confidentiality issues prevent full research.
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