New Ratings Help Seniors Steer Clear of Nursing Homes Connected to Abuse

Are you a family member looking for a nursing home that will ensure your loved one’s needs are met? Quality of life and high standards of wellbeing are understandably part of your deciding factor when choosing a nursing home in the Stuart, Florida area.

Nursing homes can be a perfect fit for seniors who need medical care that family members or other caretakers can’t provide. Nursing homes are the obvious choice for aging individuals who are at higher risk of requiring emergency medical care or special medical equipment.

The Dark Connection of Nursing Homes to Abuse

Unfortunately, there is a dark and tragic side to nursing homes in the United States. According to Nursing Home Abuse Justice, as many as 5,000,000 elders are abused each year. One study reported that as many as 24.3% of residents experienced at least one instance of physical abuse while in a nursing home. Another study estimates only 1 in 14 incidents of elder abuse are formally reported. The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study suggests this number is even more severe, with only 1 in 25 cases of abuse reported. It is estimated that these figures are low, as many elder abuse victims are unable or unwilling to report their abuse. Data from Adult Protective Services (APS) indicates a rising number of reported abuses in recent years. Elder abuse comes in many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual and financial, and it is not always obvious. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 5% to 10% of self-reported elder abuses are physical, 60% are verbal and 14% are neglect, reports Nursing Home Abuse Justice.

What Can You Do To Protect Your Loved One From Abuse?

Of course, as a concerned family member, you want to do everything in your power to ensure your loved one doesn’t suffer nursing home abuse. Choosing a nursing home might already seem overwhelming, and the statistics around nursing home abuse might make it even more stressful. Thankfully, now there’s a new way to steer clear of nursing homes where abuse has been reported.

On October 7, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced changes to Nursing Home Compare that make it easier for residents and families to identify facilities with a history of resident abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Starting on October 23rd 2019, consumers can look for a new icon (a red circle with a hand — located to the right) on a facility’s Nursing Home Compare profile to see if that facility has been cited for either or both of the following deficiencies:

  1. A harm-level (scope and severity level G or higher) abuse citation on the most recent standard survey cycle or complaint survey within the past 12 months.
  2. An abuse citation where residents were found to be potentially harmed (scope and severity level D or higher) on the most recent standard survey cycle or complaint survey within the past 12 months and on the previous standard survey cycle or complaint survey in the prior 12 months, according to the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

Additionally, revisions to the Five Star Technical Users’ Guide reveal that facilities meeting either of these criteria will have their health inspection rating capped at a maximum of two stars. Also,  if a facility has been given the abuse icon, the best overall quality rating that a facility can receive is four stars.

These changes have come after increased concern and awareness of nursing home resident abuse. For more information about addressing resident abuse, as well as resources for tracking and reporting abuse, please see LTCCC’s Abuse, Neglect, and Crime Reporting Center.

How Else Can You Help Your Aging Loved One?

This new and improved rating system on Nursing Home Compare can help you be more informed and confident when deciding on the best nursing home for your parent, grandparent, or other aging loved one. However, there are many other ways that you can assist seniors in your life with critical decisions. Aging individuals face a multitude of decisions that need to be made regarding estate planning, healthcare power of attorney, Medicaid, financial power of attorney, and more! Additionally, your loved one might not be aware of veteran’s benefits they are missing out on. When it comes to the decisions that will determine future wellbeing for the whole family, we are the Treasure Coast’s elder law firm you can trust. Whatever your legal issue or question is, we are dedicated to helping you achieve peace of mind and a legacy the whole family can be proud of. Start by contacting our Stuart, Florida office today at 772-261-8556 or with an online message. Serving Treasure Coast seniors and those who love them.


The Estate, Trust, and Elder Law Firm, P.L.

Fort Pierce (Main Location)

2940 S. 25th Street

Fort Pierce, FL 34981




850 NW Federal Highway, #1004

Stuart, FL 34994



Port St. Lucie

1860 S.W. Fountainview Blvd. Suite 100

Port St. Lucie, FL 34986



Vero Beach

IRC Chamber of Commerce 1216 21st Street

Vero Beach, FL 32960



402 NW Third St,

Okeechobee, FL 34972


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