Complaints Matter: National Study in Nursing Homes Published

"Strong protections against retaliation and addressing consumers' care-related concerns early are critical for prevention, improved oversight, and holding care providers accountable. " Dr. Eilon Caspi, Gerontologist and Elder Voice Board Member


Dr. Eilon led the study in collaboration with Purdue University based on mistreatment citation data received from CMS.


Abstract

Mistreatment of nursing home residents is prevalent and leads to harmful consequences. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) mission to protect residents’ right to be free from mistreatment is implemented partially through state survey agencies’ (SSAs) issuance of deficiency citations. The goal of this study was to compare SSA standard surveys and SSA complaint investigations with regard to the seriousness (scope and severity) of the mistreatment citations issued. A cumulative link mixed model was built to estimate the differences between standard surveys and complaint investigations in the seriousness of four core and two secondary mistreatment citations nationwide from 2014 to 2017. In all of the six mistreatment deficiency citations, complaint investigations were more likely to be determined as more serious compared with standard surveys. The findings reinforce the importance of strengthening nursing homes’ and CMS/SSA response to consumers’ concerns and grievances before they escalate into more harmful mistreatment.