Medicare survey reveals deficiencies at Region 8 nursing homes - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Medicare survey reveals deficiencies at Region 8 nursing homes

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - When a loved one needs more care than you can provide, finding a nursing home is a challenge. When you dole out thousands of dollars each month, you want to make sure your loved ones get quality care.

A Region 8 News investigation found where some local facilities are failing their residents and what is being done to improve resident life.

Kelby Norris said her great grandmother Earnest Raye Tubbs spent time in a local facility.

“She got out of bed to try and use the bathroom,” Norris said. “She fell... re-broke something.”

Earnest Raye stayed on the floor 18 hours before Kelby and her family found her.

“How can you not check on people that can't fend for themselves for 18 hours?” Norris asked. “And they aren't even the ones that found her we found her.”

That facility has since changed hands, but it remains one of several Region 8 facilities plagued with problems, according to Medicare.gov.

For example, St. Elizabeth's Place was cited for failing to ensure residents' safety from serious medical errors. While Ridgecrest Health and Rehabilitation had deficiencies with providing proper treatment to residents with feeding tubes.

Despite those deficiencies, both still received high overall ratings. Ridgecrest received five stars. St. Elizabeth's got four.

By contrast, Jonesboro Health and Rehab received two stars for a "below average" rating. That was after it was cited with 11 deficiencies, including not providing proper treatment for bed sores.

Medicare says six or seven deficiencies is average and most problems are corrected in a reasonable time frame. But what can families do in the meantime?

Melissa Prater of East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging says the ombudsman program is a great resource for nursing home residents and their families.

“He serves as an advocate,” Prayer said. “If there's any type of problem that that resident or the family members are having with the facility he can step in and help solve those problems.”

The ombudsman investigates any and all resident complaints from cold food to wrongful death. Because he oversees 32 facilities within a 12-county area, the agency uses volunteers to be his eyes and ears.

“It's all about the residents,” Prater said. “It's all about their care and them getting the best care possible.”

Region 8 News reached out to all of the facilities mentioned in this report.

Of those who responded, Shane Edwards, V-P of operations at Jonesboro Health and Rehabilitation said:

"The administration and clinical staff of Jonesboro Health and Rehabilitation, LLC is dedicated to providing quality care to residents and has applied techniques to reduce the incidence and severity of pressure ulcers."

Edwards says that includes utilizing an advanced practice nurse and a wound care clinic.

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