AARP: Oklahoma nursing homes failing to give quality care

September 6, 2018

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A recent AARP report has found that Oklahoma’s nursing homes are failing to provide quality care, with registered nurses providing the fewest number of hours per day for each patient compared to the rest of the U.S.

The AARP Public Policy Institute ranked Oklahoma nursing homes near or at the bottom of a list evaluating states on several indicators of quality care, the Tulsa World reported.

The number of Oklahoma residents at least 85 years old is expected to grow to 95,000 by 2030, according to the report by the non-partisan organization that helps people considering senior services. The projection would signal a 38 percent increase from 2015 of people who may need nursing home care in a poorly rated system.

“As the report indicates, our nursing home industry is failing to provide basic levels of care,” said Joe Ann Vermillion, AARP Oklahoma state president. “Without immediate reforms, our state’s most frail and vulnerable will continue to fall victim to this crisis.”

The report ranked Oklahoma nursing homes highest in the country for the use of antipsychotic medications without a psychiatric diagnosis in patients requiring long-term care. Oklahoma was also ranked second in the rate of high-risk patients with pressure sores, which could lead to dangerous infections.

Two industry experts traced the state’s weaknesses back to inadequate staffing and Medicaid reimbursement rates that are below the audited cost of caring for residents. Oklahoma ranks 44th in Medicaid expenditures and 46th in median hourly wages for nurses, according to the report.

The state should prioritize reforming the quality of care and ensuring appropriate staffing levels, said Chad Mullen, AARP Oklahoma’s associate director of advocacy.

The report is “obviously disturbing” but not a surprise, said Nico Gomez, CEO of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers.

Gomez said the report is “an opportunity for us to collaborate with AARP and go to the state Legislature and work on better funding for our seniors.”


Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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