Here is an interesting article about attorney Ken Connor’s appearance for an advocacy group for nursing home reform.  The seminar was titled "Nursing Homes: A Failed Experiment,".  Connor’s appearance was sponsored by the advocacy group Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform.

Connor said he classified nursing homes as "a failed experiment" because the current system puts the economics of the provider ahead of the life, health and safety of the residents.

"In other words, they put profit over people; they put revenue over residents," he said.

To increase profit, Connor said, staffing is cut. And some nursing homes are run by businessmen who have never been doctors or nurses and don’t have any expertise in the medical field. They are, however, good at making money.

It’s important for people to be educated about this issue — to know what to do if they are confronted with a problem and know where to file a complaint. It’s also good to know where to find support.

Connor urged the crowd to pay attention to signs such as pressure ulcers, infections, urine and feces-stained bed linen and foul odors. Also, the hollow eyes and parched tongues of loved ones display the lack of time devoted to them.

Connor said nursing home problems are pervasive throughout the country.   "Corral your congressmen and senators and make them understand the breadth of the problem," he said.

Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform work to change state law so criminal background checks and random drug tests are required for all nursing home employees. They are fighting to ensure there is a minimum staffing standard.

Kentucky has cited about one in four nursing homes for serious deficiencies that caused "actual harm" or "immediate jeopardy". 

The headquarters of The Carlyle Group, a Wall Street Investment corporation that made our blog a few weeks ago when we wrote about its involvement with Habana Health Care Center (see Wall Street and Nursing Homes? and Nursing Home Profits), was the site of a demonstration Monday, October 22nd by nursing home advocates.  The Carlyle Group is in the process of taking over Manor Care Inc., a Toledo, Ohio-based nursing home chain with facilities across the country.  Manor Care has several facilities in South Carolina.  

The Washington Business Journal reports that the demonstration was organized by SEIU Healthcare, a health care workers union, and it’s purpose was to express worries caregivers and advocates have about the quality of care residents will receive after the the takeover as well as the status of jobs within the facilities.  As we blogged in previous articles mentioning The Carlyle Group, there is much data to support the fact that staffing numbers are cut and care quality goes down when Carlyle is involved.

On Monday, Carlyle made a pledge to quality care at Manor Care facilities saying that education, training, and staffing levels would ensue proper clinical care and all federal and state regulations would be met.  A Carlyle higher-up stated that "Manor Care is poised to become an even stronger health care provider under Carlyle’s ownership." 

A statement released by Carlyle said the acquisition of Manor Care is expected to be completed by the end of November.  I suppose only time will tell if Carlyle will uphold their promise to provide quality care to the residents of the former Manor Care facilities.  A statement released by the executive vice-president of the union that organized Monday’s event says advocates will continue to hold Carlyle Group "accountable for improving care and staffing at Manor Care." 

The Washington Business Journal also reported that the demonstration was planned to continue on Tuesday at Capitol Hill to lobby Congress to "hold hearings on private equity ownership of nursing homes."