Patient advocacy groups slam Florida's largest nursing home provider for bad care

10/22/13 Janelle Irwin
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Tags: healthcare, nursing homes, Consulate, SEIU, patient care

Florida received a B-rating for nursing home care in the state, but one chain isn’t doing quite so hot. Consulate Health Care is the largest provider in the state of Florida. Angela Lusk with the Service Employee’s International Union says the company is falling behind state averages in almost every key factor of elderly care.

“Pressure ulcers are very painful sores that residents can get. They take a long time to heal and they can lead to other complications like skin and bone infection.”

But a report released by the SEIU shows that Consulate facilities have 63% more incidents of pressure ulcers in long-term residents than the state average. The elderly healthcare chain also soars above state averages in the number of patients being restrained, medicated with anti-psychotics and who report incidents of depression. The report also shows that one of the most common problems among elderly patients – falling – happens 43% more often at Consulate homes than others in the state.

“Falls are a huge risk to the elderly population. They can lead to bone fractures, head injuries, altered consciousness and it’s very difficult for the elderly to recover from such falls.” “It is traceable to shrewd nursing home owners who overwork, underpay and under-staff their front lines in the name of excessive profiteering.”

That’s Brian Lee, director of Families for Better Care. He says Consulate, who also own facilities in 20 other states, can very much afford to better staff their facilities.

“In case you didn’t know, as much as 80% of nursing home reimbursements are subsidized by American taxpayers. The state has shoveled millions upon millions of those taxpayer dollars into nursing home coffers with little accountability of whether or not these monies go into direct nursing home care.”

Results of the SEIU report were announced during a conference call today. During that call a nursing assistant at one of Consulate’s facilities, Rochelle Salcedo, said she’s seen first hand how the quality of care for patients has declined because of insufficient staffing.

“I care for more residents today than I ever have which is becoming an issue day by day. If I have ten or 12 residents to care for an eight hour day, the amount of time I can spend with each resident is limited. And if the resident is sick, it just makes it worse because he or she requires more time and attention and this just further limits my time with other residents I have.”

The report is being used by the SEIU and some patient advocacy groups as evidence that the state legislature needs to address what they call a growing trend in prioritizing profits over patient care.

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