Obama Administration proposes new rules to modernize nursing home safety

Jul 14, 2015

The Obama Administration has proposed ideas to implement new rules that will help modernize nursing home safety. This will include rules that nursing homes must follow in order to be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid payments.

The proposal includes everything from the use of antipsychotic drugs to meals to staffing.

Nursing home safety is critical as it is important to know that the people we entrust our loved ones with are being diligent in promoting their health and safety.

The proposal was unveiled at this year’s White House Conference on Aging which meets once per decade. The Conference convenes to set an agenda for meeting the diverse needs of older adults in the United States, in addition to discussing their long-term care options and methods of improvement.

Advances in the fields of science, health, and technology have been at the forefront of the talks, especially since major advances have transpired since the original inception of the regulations. For instance, the adverse side effects of antipsychotic medications and overuse of antibiotics are now clearly apparent, when previously they were not yet discovered.

Ways to Improve Nursing Home Safety

Some of the proposed changes to improve nursing home safety would involve:

–       Updates and training on electronic health records;

–       Measures that would more effectively involve patients and their families in care planning, as well as in the discharge service;

–       Strengthening rules related to infection control;

–       Minimizing use of antipsychotic medications and overuse of antibiotics, including close monitoring of drug use over excessive periods of time or other irregularities;

–       Efforts to reduce hospital readmissions;

–       Promotion of individualized care;

–       Making the nursing home feel more “like home”;

–       Providing the resident with the ability to pick their own roommate, which could allow for rooming with family members; and

–       Required reporting of staffing levels

Although the proposal does not require a set nurse-to-resident ratio, the proposed changes would require that nurses obtain training in dementia care and elder abuse prevention to better meet their patients’ needs.

It is still unknown how enforcement will be addressed in the proposed rules, but individuals advocating for nursing home safety are asking for stricter enforcement and penalization.

Additional Resources

Popular Blood Thinner Has Been Linked With Nursing Home Deaths and Injuries 

What is Nursing Home Abuse? 

How to Select a Nursing Home For Your Loved One?