News, Skilled Nursing Facility

OIG reports increase in immediate jeopardy and high priority complaints in nursing homes

In a recent report published by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the agency found that states received one-third more nursing home complaints in 2015 than in 2011, despite a decrease in occupancy. States prioritized more than half of complaints into the most serious categories—immediate jeopardy and high priority—which require onsite investigations within two or 10 working days, respectively. OIG found that most states met the required timeframes, but a few states fell short.

Types and examples of allegations associated with the most serious nursing home complaints in 2015 include:

  • Quality of care/treatment—41%

Example: Blood glucose testing strips were unavailable for a resident who was known to have high blood sugar and found deceased on the floor

  • Resident neglect—12%

Example: A resident had a bowel movement and called for assistance at 8:00PM to be changed, but incontinent care was not provided to the resident until 11:20PM

  • Resident rights—8%

Example: A nursing home resident who is receiving hospice services wants to go to a different facility, but the nursing home will not discharge her

  • Physical environment—6%

Example: A resident reported that there was no heat on the third floor, that it was extremely cold and there were not enough blankets to stay warm, and staff were wearing hats and coats.

  • Resident abuse—5%

Example: A family member, who is subject to supervised visits, allegedly verbally and physically abused a resident after becoming upset about the resident’s eating patterns.

  • Other—28%
  • Includes categories such as administration, dietary services, accidents, infection control, and misappropriation of property.

According to risk management specialist Carol Marshall, MA, customer service in long-term care facilities involves two key aspects: properly educating families about the realities of SNF living, and handling adverse events appropriately. Her new book, SNF Risk Management Through Person-Centered Care will help facilities understand the components of an effective customer service program, realize the importance of risk management, and master several methods of reducing the potential for litigation. Click here to learn more about getting your copy of this resource to help avoid receiving complaints in your facility by providing better care and education to your customers.