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Report: Many Louisiana nursing homes fail to provide quality care

Deciding to put a loved one in a nursing home is a big decision. Much research may be done to ensure that the nursing home provides quality care to its residents. Often, people choose to put a loved one in a nursing home because they can no longer take care of their loved one's needs. They want their loved one to be cared for, and especially they don't want to see their loved one suffer unnecessarily. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen, due to nursing home neglect or abuse.

In Louisiana, the state often funnels Medicaid recipients into nursing homes rather than home-based care options. For example, in 2017 nursing homes that allow residents to pay with Medicaid benefits will receive a combined total of over $1 billion in public funds. This is unusual as most states are leaning more towards spending public funds on home-based care options. In the end, however, since more money is being funneled to nursing homes rather than other care programs, it is more likely a Medicaid recipient will ultimately be sent to a nursing home.

Unfortunately, a preference for nursing homes has not increased the nursing homes' quality of care towards its residents. Per the federal government, nearly 50 percent of nursing homes in Louisiana have been deemed to be "below average" or even "much below average." Moreover, a 2011 report maintained that the state had the greatest percentage of individuals suffering from bed sores while residing in a nursing home. The state was also named as one of the worst states with regards to how many residents were given antipsychotic medications, how many residents were ultimately hospitalized due to injuries or illnesses and how many residents were restrained physically.

As this shows, much needs to be done to improve nursing home care in Louisiana. Unfortunately, any changes that may be made may come too late for those who have suffered serious injuries or illnesses, or even died due to nursing home neglect or abuse. When this happens, the victims loved ones may want to discuss the matter with a personal injury attorney, who can assess the situation and determine whether legal action against the nursing home is an option.

Source: houmatoday.com, "Louisiana nursing homes: Inside a system that values profits over patients," Rebekah Allen, May 6, 2017

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