The results of a study reported in 2011 regarding nursing home claims made against nursing homes operated by the five largest nursing home chains in the United States (for the period from 2000 through 2006 for one of the nursing home chains, the period from 2000 through 2005 for a second chain of nursing homes, and the period from 1998 through 2005 for the remaining three nursing home chains) found that of the total of 4,716 nursing home claims made against the 1,465 nursing homes studied, the rate of claims declined from 1998 through 2006 from an average of 1.5 nursing home claims per 1,000 nursing home residents per year in 1998 to an average of 0.3 nursing home claims per 1,000 nursing home residents per year in 2006.
On average, the nursing homes were subject to one nursing home claim every two years. Claims of injuries suffered as result of falls were made in 26.6% of the claims. Claims alleging injuries due to pressure ulcers (bed sores) were made in 15.9% of the nursing home claims. Payments were made in 61% of the nursing home claims. The average payment was $199,794 per nursing home claim. The total compensatory payments made were $578 million (in 2006 dollars).
The nursing homes provided an average of 0.3 nurse-hours per resident-day and an average of 2.0 nurse’s aide-hours per resident-day. The nursing homes had an average of 7.0 deficiencies with 0.6 serious deficiencies. The mean quarterly rate of dehydration was 0.7 instances per 100 residents. The mean quarterly rate of pressure ulcers was 15.6 pressure ulcers per 100 high-risk residents.
The study found that the odds of being the subject of a nursing home claim were significantly higher for nursing homes that had more deficiencies. The odds of being sued for nursing home injuries were also greater when nursing home residents experienced weight loss or pressure ulcers. Nursing homes with more nurse’s aide-hours per resident-day had significantly fewer nursing home claims.
The study determined that the nursing homes with the lowest deficiency rates had approximately a 40% annual risk of one or more claims against them while the nursing homes with the highest deficiency rates had approximately a 47% annual risk. The study found that the best nursing homes based on the study’s criteria had litigation risks 2 to 7 percentage points lower than the lesser quality nursing homes in absolute terms (5 to 20 percentage points in relative terms).
For nursing home claims alleging fall injuries, the annual risk of claims was 12% for the best nursing homes compared to 15% for lesser quality nursing homes. For nursing home claims alleging pressure ulcer injuries, the annual risk of claims ranged from 6% for the best nursing homes to 11% for lesser quality nursing homes. For nursing home claims alleging weight loss or dehydration injuries, the annual risk of claims ranged from 5% for the best nursing homes to 7% for the lesser quality nursing homes.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries during a nursing home stay, you should promptly contact a local nursing home claim attorney to investigate your possible nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
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