Patients are routinely discharged from hospitals to nursing home care facilities. This can happen if the patient was hospitalized for something like a stroke, and the illness or injury has left the patient temporarily or permanently unable to live independently. If the patient needs skilled rehab services, such as might occur after a hip or knee replacement, this can also be a situation where a patient is discharged from a hospital into a nursing home.
When patients are released from a hospital into a nursing home, the hospital may provide a list of care facilities or may even sometimes subtly push a patient towards choosing a particular care environment.
Patients often trust the facilities the hospital recommends, especially if the hospital is a respected healthcare institute and if the patient is reasonably happy with the care provided by hospital staff. Unfortunately, patients need to be aware that they cannot rely on the advice of hospitals to help them determine what nursing home facility is best.
Hospitals Fail to Disclose Serious Nursing Home Care Problems to Patients
Washington Post published an article recently warning people they could not count on their hospital to steer them into a trusted and respected nursing home care setting.
The Washington Post article began with the tragic story of an 88-year-old woman who had undergone hip surgery. When she left the hospital, she went into a nursing home care facility that her daughter had selected, with the help of the hospital.
The nursing home care facility was not only affiliated with the hospital, but it also shared the name of the hospital. The patient and her family thought she would be safe and well-cared for since the respected hospital - where her surgery had been performed - had steered her in this direction.
What the patient and her family did not know, however, was that the care facility had received only a one-star quality rating from Medicare, which is obviously the worst of the ratings. The patient and her family were also not informed by the hospital that the nursing home care facility they were steering the patient towards had been cited repeatedly by state investigators.
The nursing home care facility had been accused in the best of being disrespectful to residents; of not helping residents in pain; and for failing to respond in a timely manner if a patient was in distress. The care facility, unfortunately, lived down to its reputation.
The patient developed an obstructed bowel while in the nursing home, which resulted in her death. The patient's family filed a lawsuit claiming that the nursing home was to blame for a variety of failures, including not providing appropriate medication and failing to respond to the patient's distress.
The hospital could potentially have prevented this tragedy from occurring by providing information about nursing home quality, but that did not happen and it is now too late for the victim who lost her life in a place that was supposed to help her get better.