Platte County, WY- There has been much discussion about the safety of nursing homes across the country. In Wyoming there are approximately 3,000 elderly residents of nursing homes so it is important to know how facilities in the state rank among facilities across the country.
In a recent survey of long-term care facilities across the U.S. by the non-profit advocacy group Families for Better Care, Wyoming facilities got good rankings for the amount of direct care the resident receives however over 95 percent of facilities had deficiencies.
The National Council on Elderly Abuse estimates that roughly 50 percent of nursing homes are understaffed. When facilities are understaffed, residents are more vulnerable to neglect and abuse. Fewer staff on the floor gives an abuser the opportunity they need or the needs of each patient are not being met which can lead to illness, malnutrition, dehydration and bed sores.
Nursing homes in Wyoming received a “A” grade for the number of direct care hours they provide to each nursing home resident. Families for Better Care found that facilities in the state offered each resident with 2.5 hours of direct care. That is well above the national average of two hours of direct care for each resident per day.
Wyoming nursing homes may be better staffed than most, but Families for Better Care found that 97 percent of facilities were cited for deficiencies. Over 13 percent had severe deficiencies which are defined as events that cause immediate jeopardy or actual harm and resulted in resident injury, abuse, neglect, or death.
Facilities were also above average in the amount of professional nursing care hours each patient received. Residents in the state received 1.12 hours, above the national average which is a half an hour to an hour.
Another area where facilities in the state ranked low was verified ombudsman complaints, according to Families for Better Care; elder advocates verified 98.99 percent of complaints. “Wyoming nursing homes have one of the worst ombudsman records in the nation,” according to the group.
Overall Wyoming nursing homes received a “C” grade, and ranked 23 among the states. While the facilities are better staffed than most, there will still be incidents of abuse or neglect, it’s a sad reality.
The elderly are much more vulnerable; many of them are immobile, unable to care for themselves or suffer from dementia. This makes them easy prey for people who are inclined to abuse or neglect a person.
Neglect, if it doesn’t cause immediate harm to a nursing home resident, can lead to long-term health issues or even death. Neglect can take many forms such as denying a resident food, failing to change their soiled undergarments or failing to move an immobile resident regularly to prevent bed sores. Whether the neglect is intentional of unintentional, the victim can seek the advice of a Wyoming nursing home attorney to determine if they are eligible for compensation.