The nursing home industry is the third most-regulated business in the United States. In Alabama, the Alabama Department of Public Health inspects the 230 nursing homes in the state at least once every 15 months. There are also additional inspections provided if residents have complained. Despite this, some people face nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect and other issues, all of which could lead to lawsuits for medical malpractice.
Despite tight regulations, there are still issues at some nursing homes. In some nursing homes, residents have medical issues that make it hard for them to live alone; they may have to deal with improperly-stored foods, noisy environments and a lack of privacy, since most rooms are shared by at least two residents.
Operating nursing home to state standards is reportedly harder than it looks. The director of Preferred Health Services in Centre stated that there are 1,500 deficiencies that can be cited during any visit from the state department. Everything is looked at, from the temperature of foods being cooked to the amount of water patients are being given at their bedsides.
It's supposedly difficult for a nursing facility to have no deficiencies. For the most part, the infractions are able to be fixed quickly, though. If there are problems, inspectors return within a month to make sure the issues have been corrected. If not, then sanctions can be issued by the state.
Medicare uses a nursing home compare chart with ratings to show the health inspection rating, staff rating and quality measures. A 5 is the best rating a facility can get; only one of the five examples was rated at a 5; the other four were 3 or lower, showing how difficult it must be to maintain constant, high-quality services in nursing care. Difficult, but it's not impossible.
Source: Anniston Star, "Tightly regulated, nursing homes still deal with issues" Tim Lockett, Daniel Gaddy, Aug. 26, 2014