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Long term care facilities such as nursing homes across America will, for the first time, have to protect their residents by installing sprinkler systems throughout their buildings if they wish to continue to serve Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, under a new regulation to be issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Facilities will have a five-year phase-in period to be fully compliant with the new rule.
Approximately three million elderly and disabled Americans reside in the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes, all of which must have comprehensive sprinkler systems in place by 2013. To date, there has never been a multiple-fatality fire in a facility with a sprinkler system that meets the requirements of today’s rule.
“CMS is taking further action to protect the lives of our beneficiaries through a more comprehensive and effective approach to fire safety,” said Kerry Weems, acting administrator of CMS. “In the past, certain older facilities were exempt from having an automatic sprinkler system, but we now will hold all 16,000 nursing homes in the nation to this standard.”Norman DeLisle, MDRC
Nursing homes not only can but must change the way they operate, becoming better places to live and work. Only then will they be able to reduce the epidemic of violence that currently plagues them, according to an article in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing, Vol. 34 No. 3.
CNAs often experience “harassment, threats, and assaults” from residents, and the number of those incidents is probably “seriously underestimated,” according to “Policy Recommendations on the Prevention of Violence in Long-Term Care Facilities.” (The article is free to subscribers only; others must pay.)
Those attacks cause emotional distress, which can lead to more confrontations. “Frustrated and fearful, CNAs’ voices might be louder and their movements rougher, causing residents to respond in an aggressive manner,” notes the report. A vicious cycle of abuse can also occur when, “in retaliation, such aggressive behavior results in staff-to-resident abuse.”Norman DeLisle, MDRC
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today announced it will soon launch a ground-breaking ranking system of America’s nursing homes, giving each a “star” rating. CMS is requesting comments on the system designed to provide patients and their families an easy to understand assessment of nursing home quality, making meaningful distinctions between high performing and low performing homes.
The ratings will be posted on the agency’s Nursing Home Compare Web site by the end of this year. A sample screen shot of the proposed star ratings is available at www.cms.hhs.gov/PressContacts/10_PR_fivestar.asp. Medicare Compare can be found at www.medicare.gov.
“More than three million Americans rely on services provided by a nursing home at some point during the year. The new “five-star” rating system will provide a composite view of the quality and safety information currently on Nursing Home Compare to help beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily,” said Kerry Weems, CMS acting administrator.Norman DeLisle, MDRC