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Group releases nursing home report card

September 15, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Higher staffing levels result in better care for long-term care residents, according to a newly released report card rating states on the care provided in skilled nursing facilities. The findings, from Florida-based resident advocacy group Families for Better Care (FBC), echo those of its 2013 report card, although some of the winners and losers changed.

The group scored, ranked and graded states on eight different federal quality measures ranging from the average number of hours professional and licensed nurses present to the percentage of facilities with deficiencies.

“The difference between quality nursing home care and subpar care boils down to an average of 22 extra minutes of direct care per resident daily,” says Brian Lee, Families for Better Care’s executive director. “The obvious solution to make nursing homes safer and more life enriching for residents is to hire more frontline staff,” he adds.

Although little movement occurred at the top and bottom of the overall rankings between this year and last year, all but seven states shifted position. Some highlights:

  • Top states for nursing home care were Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.
  • Bottom states were Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
  • States with the biggest gains in overall ranking were Nevada, California and the District of Columbia, whereas states suffering the biggest losses were South Dakota, Alaska and Oregon.
  • Four of last year’s highest-ranked states for nursing homes are not in the top 10 for 2014, including Alaska, 2013’s highest ranked nursing home state, which is 16th on the 2014 list. Other top states in 2013 that are out of 2014’s top 10: Idaho, South Dakota and Oregon.

Other key findings, according to FBC:

  • Only three states provided more than two hours of professional nursing care per resident per day.
  • 92 percent of states offered residents fewer than three hours of direct resident care per day.