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Changes in Medicare regulations to help nursing home residents

Posted by Sasha Golden | Jul 02, 2009 | 0 Comments

Every year, federal law requires nursing homes be inspected and graded on the standard of care they provide residents — cleanliness, record keeping, food, etc., etc. However, until last month, there were no grades for actually making a nursing home feel more like, well, a home. These new standards are intended to force nursing homes to focus on reducing the institutionalization of residents. It will be a while before these changes in the survey requirements result in real change, but it's a step in the right direction.

To quote the press release —

The new guidance also calls on nursing homes to de-institutionalize their physical environments. The guidance highlights institutional practices that facilities should strive to eliminate including meals served on institutional trays and noise from overhead paging systems, alarms and large nursing stations.

A homelike environment is not achieved simply through enhancements to the physical environment, according to the new guidance. It concerns striving for person-centered care that emphasizes individualization, relationships, and a psychological environment that welcomes each resident and offers comfort….

The guidance also makes clear that residents have the right to choices concerning their schedules -consistent with their interests, assessments, and plans of care. Choice over schedules includes, but is not limited to, those matters that are important to the resident, such as daily waking, eating, bathing, and going to bed at night. The facility should gather this information in order to be proactive in assisting residents to fulfill their choices.

About the Author

Sasha Golden

Alexandra “Sasha” Golden received her undergraduate and law degrees from Boston College, and has been practicing law in Massachusetts since 1994. Attorney Golden is a long-standing member of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and of the Probate and So...


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