nursing home complaint

How do I know if a nursing home is safe?

There is no way to be 100% certain that your elderly relative won’t suffer an injury or trauma in a nursing home.

But when it comes to elder care, knowledge is power. If a home has history of abuse or neglect complaints, it’s a sign of serious, systemic problems.

Search for nursing home complaints 

Medicare tracks nursing home violations and deficiencies. Nursing Home Inspect has organized that data: you can search for a specific facility – for example, “Harborview Hospice”; or by location – “Aberdeen, Washington”. The information is updated monthly, and covers the past three years.     

  • How many complaints – or “deficiencies” have residents filed?

For example, Kittitas Valley Health & Rehab Center in Ellensburg, Washington has a shocking 59 verified complaints.

  • How severe are the violations?

Severity ratings range from “A” violations—the least severe, usually the potential for harm, without actual damage— to “L” violations, the most severe incidents, occurring in a pattern.

  • What actually happened?

Medicare’s incident reports are included; you can see the details of specific incidents, and know what to watch for if you have a relative in that facility.

Coluccio_Law_Nursing_Home_Checker

A search for “Seattle, Washington” found 216 elder care facilities, with a total of 913 deficiencies.

 

This is a great resource, but one of the best things you can do to ensure a safe, healthy nursing home experience is to go there often, and on various dates and times.

If the residents generally seem happy and healthy, it’s a good sign.

If you suspect something is wrong, you’re probably right. Request an investigation.

See: How to file a Nursing Home Complaint: 4 easy steps. 

 

How to file complaint against a nursing home: 4 easy steps

Too often, people wait until an elderly person is seriously or fatally injured before registering a nursing home complaint.

If you even suspect that nursing home residents are being neglected, abused, or been treated improperly, you can—and should—file an official complaint to alert state authorities to investigate.

4 steps to filing a complaint:

1. Write it down. Get the facts down on paper as quickly as you can: it’s much easier than trying to remember the details later.

2. Fill out the investigation form. Medicare has contact info for every state agency charged with investigating malpractice, abuse and neglect complaints. You can remain anonymous in the report, but give them as much information as you can, including:

  • Date and time of the incident;
  • Address of the facility, and location within it (cafeteria, hallway, etc.);
  • Your description of what happened (this is where your notes come in handy).

3. Send it in. Mail, email, fax, or even call, but file the form as soon as possible. The sooner you file, the sooner the problem can be addressed.

4. Follow up. A representative should contact you; ask to be notified when the final report is complete.

You don’t have to wait for an incident or an injury.

File a complaint if you know about unsanitary or unsafe conditions, or chronic understaffing in an elder care facility.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, our state investigates all claims involving:

  • Patient abuse or neglect
  • Staff not available to provide care
  • Failure to provide care
  • Providing the wrong care
  • Medication errors or mistakes
  • Unsafe, unclean or dangerous areas in the facility
  • Patient injuries or falls
  • Not following medical orders
  • Improperly prepared food
  • Not responding to a patient complaint

Click here to file a nursing home complaint in Washington

If you need help with this process, contact Coluccio Law for a free consultation.

About Kevin

Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.