We’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about nursing homes on Medicare’s Special Focus Facility (SFF) list, which can be simply referred to as a compilation of the country’s worst nursing homes.
As the name implies, nursing homes appointed to the SFF list faced heightened scrutiny with more frequent inspections due to a pattern of improper care and patient neglect.
Assuming facilities improve the care they provide to their patients, they can graduate from the list. For facilities not inclined to make the necessary changes, an uncertain future faces them as continued problems could result in cuts in funding from Medicare— the lifeblood of most nursing homes operational budget.
As a lawyer who has worked on matters involved inadequate care at a special focus facilities, I can readily attest to how many of these facilities SFF designation is well deserved by ongoing episodes of inadequate care involving horribly neglected patients.
In case you assume that nursing homes designated as SFF’s are facilities being singled out for a mere episode of poor care, I suggest you take a look at some of the care documented in the Detroit Free Press’s article, “Borgess Gardens nursing home in Kalamazoo faces lawsuit over death.”
The thrust of the article concentrates on a disturbing incident involving a 51-year-old patient who died after her tracheostomy tube became entangled in a bed rail as she was receiving care from a staff member. However, what makes the incident even more disturbing is the fact that the patient required hospitalization seven times over the year preceding her death for poor care of her trach tube.
Reviewing state inspection reports, the Free Press article chronicles how inexcusable problems plague Borgess Gardens (a Michigan nursing home)— even after the facility was cited for the above incident. Several months after the patients trach tube became entangled, staff at the facility seemingly solidified Borgess Garden’s place on the SFF list when several staff members pried a patient’s severely contracted legs apart in order to insert a catheter— causing severe damage to the muscles and ligaments in the legs.
While Borgess Gardens has apparently re-dedicated itself to providing better patient care by hiring a new administrator and creating a special lab for staff to work on skills with training mannequins— I can only think of how these improvements are seemingly too little, too late for the patients who have suffered because of this facilities.
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