by Bard L. Shober, Esq.

Searching for an appropriate nursing home for your loved one just got a little easier.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced last month that they will display a warning icon for nursing homes with abuse citations on their consumer “Nursing Home Compare” web page.

Nursing homes that have received a citation for abuse will be identified with an icon of an open palm surrounded by a red circle.  Officials will update the icons monthly along with the facilities overall inspection results.

This marks an improvement over the old system that required consumers using the web page to await quarterly updates.  In addition, consumers will know instantly if the nursing home has had a recent citation for abuse.  Also available at the “Nursing Home Compare” web page will be the results of the CMS five star system that rates each nursing home on a variety of categories including staffing and quality measures.

Unfortunately, the new icon will only be present until the next inspection if the nursing home remedies the issues that caused the abuse citation; meaning the new system does not provided an historical account of abuse findings.  To date, nearly 5% of the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes have received the icon.

An informed consumer makes the best decisions.  This improvement at the CMS website helps us all be better consumers for our families and friends that need long-term nursing care.


11 Signs of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse

By Randolph C. Lafferty and Bard L. Shober

What can we do to keep our family members safe and well-cared for?  How can we tell if nursing home patients are being treated properly?

Ideally, a family member or friend would spend extended time each day with a loved one in a nursing facility to make certain they get everything they need and deserve.  However, for most people, that is simply not an option.

The first four signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are fairly easy to recognize:

  • Inadequately explained bruises or fractures,
  • New skin breakdown – pressure ulcers / bed sores
  • Frequent falls, and
  • Rapid weight loss (a sign of malnutrition).

Other signs can be more subtle:

  • Changes in consciousness and mental status,
  • Changes in sociability, and
  • Avoidance or fear of nursing staff.

One of the best ways to make sure your parent or loved one’s nursing home is providing acceptable care is to keep in contact with the nursing staff and your loved one on a regular basis, and to be vigilant in looking for signs of abuse and neglect.  Other signs to be aware of include:

  • Infections
  • Instances of wandering or elopement,
  • Unsanitary or unclean conditions, and
  • Unusual or sudden changes in behavior.