Lax Ohio Nursing Home Laws Lead To Deplorable Conditions

Ohio Nursing home laws have left many nursing homes in deplorable conditions and can be categorized as nursing home abuse

Cochran-Ohio-Nursing-Home-Abuse-Lawyer-LawsuitIn 2010, an 82-year-old woman living in an Ohio nursing home drowned while talking a bath. According to records, she was not supposed to be left alone at any time. However, records show that she was left alone for at least an hour that day, which led to her death.

Ohio Nursing Home Laws

Ohio currently has many laws surrounding the care of the elderly in nursing homes. One of the laws requires nursing homes to provide “skilled nursing care,” which encompasses technical skills and training that can help provide physical, mental, and emotional care for the elderly. Anything beyond basic daily care, including medical assistance, rehab, observation, and “personal care services.” The level of care for nursing home patients is determined by medical professionals and observation of the patient in the home.

Ohio state laws does not require that the assisted living facility alert the Ohio Department of Health when a resident dies under questionable circumstances. When the 82-year-old woman died in 2010, the Department of Health was not notified. According to the Department, even though the woman was not monitored, the nursing home had not violated any nursing home regulation. (December 2013, https://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3721)

National Nursing Home Laws

The national government has little federal control over nursing home regulation. Many states have a hands-off approach to regulating nursing home care just like Ohio. In fact, it was not until the past two decades that nursing home regulation and reform was even a major issue with lawmakers. The goal of these laws is to create a human environment for American seniors. Today’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities bring in billions of dollars each year and help over 750,000 people.

Although the goal of nursing homes were noble, recent studies have shown that seniors are suffering from dementia and illnesses in increasing numbers each year. Research by ProPublica and Frontline found that many nursing home facilities do not offer enough care to keep their residents healthy and safe. Many states have low requirements for workers. In 14 states, administrators do not even have to have a high school diploma. In Illinois, workers can be as young as age 16. A few states do not even require licensed nurses to remain on staff in assisted living facilities.

How many people work in each facility is shocking as well. In fact, only 14 states have staffing ratio laws at all. California requires that during the night shift, assisted living facilities only require 2 staff members per 200 residents. One staff member can even sleep. In Mississippi, day regulations require 1 staff member per 15 residents and 1 per 25 at night. While most nursing homes are inspected once ever 15 months, assisted living inspection times can lapse for up to 5 years in some states. Some states require no outside inspections in assisted living facilities. The consequences for lapse in care is surprisingly low. Safety violations in California can be as little as $150, and other states also have similarly low violation fines.

To date, several national administrators have tried to improve the laws for nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including Hillary Clinton in 2001 and Florida Senator Bill Nelson in 2011. However, their proposed changes met with opposition, and nothing was changed. Right now, the federal government pays for about 20 percent of the cost of assisted living nationwide. As the federal government continues to pay for assisted living facilities, new, safer laws are probably not far behind. (December 2013, https://www.psmag.com/health/horrible-condition-assisted-living-facilities-across-america-70313/)