Nursing homes have to pay fines when they provide inadequate care for their residents. The funds become part of a state’s Civil Penalty funds. Then care facilities can apply for grants to use those funds, to improve their residents’ quality of life. Yet elder care advocates say that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently has awarded grants that don’t help nursing home residents as much as they should.
In a 2019 analysis, some of the funds from nursing home fines went toward:
- buying an antique popcorn machine
- buying a soft-serve ice cream machine
- creating song lists for residents
- building gardens
One grant gave $726,000 to Ohio State University so care workers could receive training on how to create biographies for residents. These biographies would document their life history, hobbies and other notable events.
Elder care advocates would rather have Civil Penalty funds go toward:
- Preventing and controlling infections (which nursing homes often have problems with)
- Preventing falls
- Buying flu testing machines (which also could detect coronavirus
In Georgia, Civil Penalty funds amounted to more than $23 million in 2020 – enough for $65,000 for each nursing home facility. Florida didn’t report how much it has in Civil Penalty funds.
If you have a loved one and are concerned about the quality of their care, you shouldn’t hesitate to make a complaint. You want a record of when a nursing home is failing to give adequate care.
If you feel your loved one was subject to ongoing nursing home abuse or neglect, you should consult an elder care attorney. You want to ensure that the nursing home facility makes the needed steps to better care for their residents.