Nursing Homes Pushing Unnecessary and High-Priced Rehab
Nursing home patients deserve the best care for their needs. Providing this care for elderly patients near the very end of their lives often means relieving pain and other symptoms to give the best possible quality of life.
Some dying nursing home patients, however, are getting the care they don’t need and may not want. A recent study conducted by the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry suggests that nursing homes often push dying patients into intensive rehab services. Sadly, the treatments may lessen, rather than increase, the patients’ quality of life. The primary reason nursing homes push intensive rehab is, unsurprisingly, for profit.
Intensive Rehab Makes Money for Nursing Homes
When nursing homes provide intensive rehab services, they make a lot of money by billing insurers. The study found private nursing homes were twice as likely to provide intensive rehab than non-profit nursing homes. Intensive rehab is defined as more than nine hours per week per patient. The more intensive the rehab services, the greater the profit.
In fact, nursing homes on average had a profit margin that was more than six times higher when they provided rehab for a patient for more than 15 hours per week, compared to providing rehab for only a few hours per week. Many residents were found to receive the most hours of rehab during the final weeks of their lives, a time when rehab would reasonably serve no purpose.
When Rehab Doesn’t Help
Rehab services can be helpful for some nursing home patients. However, the study found financial pressures to provide intensive rehab often means it is being used even when it is not necessary, or it’s provided for more hours than needed.
These rehab treatments may be uncomfortable or feel like a burden to patients. This worsens elderly patients’ quality of life at the exact time when care should be about making it more comfortable. In some cases, the treatments may even harm the patients’ conditions. A nursing home attorney would qualify this unnecessary treatment as abuse.
A second problem is that when nursing homes focus on rehab, patients may lose the chance to get treatments that better meet their needs. Nursing homes, for example, may want to keep end-of-life patients in the hospital for their rehab treatments when patients would be better served by living in hospice care.
A Nursing Home Attorney Is Here for You
Garcia & Artigliere are experienced by nursing home attorneys in California. We protect the legal rights of nursing home patients to ensure they get the care they deserve. If you or a loved one is being given unnecessary and inappropriate treatment, that is a form of nursing home abuse. Call us at (800) 328-2630 to speak with an experienced nursing home attorney.