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Annual surveys from the resident's perspective

November 14, 2011
by Kathleen Mears
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In 15 years spent between two nursing homes, I have come to see many annual surveys. At my first facility, the aides were very nervous at survey time. To me, the facility was well-run, clean and had decent food. The survey results were good with three minor deficiencies. Staff felt the surveyors would have been harder on them.

That facility was bought and sold several times over the years and was not kept up as it was when I arrived. Not surprisingly, the survey results declined each year. I felt the care was still good though aides grew fewer in numbers. It eventually got to the point where we received a new administrator almost every year. That change alone affected continuity in the nursing home.

I have been at this current facility for more than a year. It is a “behavior facility” for many cognitively impaired residents. Last year, the surveyors found the facility to be deficiency-free. That finding surprised me until I thought that perhaps surveyors considered the special care some residents require and felt staff was performing it well.

This year’s survey ended last week and, again, the facility was found to have no deficiencies. I agree that it takes a lot to care for these people. But I still think that the facility’s owners and managers have to continuously try to improve the facility and assist staff to better care for the residents.

I know at any time this facility, like others, is in some state of flux. I also know that facilities try to minimize that state of disorder during the survey. But at any time, things in the facility can need repair or staffing levels may not be as they should.

I doubt that any facility should be found to be deficiency-free since there is always room for improvement or better management. A finding of no major deficiencies is much more realistic.

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Kathleen Mears

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Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...