Louisiana's nursing home care ranks second worst in nation

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 15, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 16 at 2:43 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

When it comes to nursing home care, a new report says Louisiana is the second worst in the nation. That is according to a Florida-based advocacy group. However, Louisiana's Nursing Home Association is saying not so fast.

"For hours nobody came to change the person and the person is also bedridden," said Laurie Peller with Advocacy Center Louisiana.

Covered in their own urine and feces is how Peller describes a nursing home complaint recently brought to the Advocacy Center. Discoveries like that continue to be every family's nightmare when they're forced to leave their loved ones in someone else's care.

"Louisiana nursing home care is at the bottom or near the bottom in providing quality care for patients in their nursing homes," said Brian Lee with Executive Director Families for Better Care, Inc.

A new report released by Florida-based the non-profit gives Louisiana an "F" in 5 of 8 categories connected to the state's nursing care. Lee says the ranking is based on staffing data, deficiency reports, and ombudsman complaint investigations. He says the state's biggest problem is lack of registered nurse and certified nurse staffing.

"Only 8 percent of all of Louisiana's nursing homes had registered nurse staffing above the average requirements. That shows that 92 percent were mediocre staffing to almost non-existent staffing," said Lee.

"To say Louisiana is the next to last state in the nation and it deserves an "F", I think is just a slap on the face of our profession," said Louisiana Nursing Home Association Executive Director Joseph Donchess.

The association says this report doesn't accurately reflect the state's nursing home care numbers.

The Association does confirm a lack of registered nurses but says the state makes up for it with a surplus of licensed practical nurses. The association also believes the advocacy group behind the report has an agenda.

"It's a shame that you have an organization, which is in part funded in part by a trial attorneys law firm, (and) they're trying to take these minor area of issues to make a mountain out of a mole hill with them," said Donchess.

Eyewitness News asked the Department of Health and Hospitals to pull its nursing home complaint numbers. Last year, DHH received 580. So far this year, it has seen 298 complaints.

The Louisiana Advocacy Center warns that although this new report shines a light on nursing home flaws statewide it only scratches the surface.

"The vast majority of problems are never reported because people are very concerned about retaliation," added Peller.

The Attorney General's Office tells Eyewitness News it received approximately 200 inquiries regarding elderly abuse. The AG's Office says those are referred to elderly protective services. 

To read the full report card on Louisiana's nursing homes CLICK HERE.

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