The number of nursing home complaints sent to a national databank increased by 28% from 1996 to 2000, according to a report by the HHS Office of the Inspector General.
But the OIG cautioned that local ombudsmen do not uniformly report complaints to the National Ombudsman Reporting System, putting the numbers in some doubt.
In its report, released Friday, the OIG recommends that the Administration on Aging, which oversees the NORS process, should take steps to make to make the data more consistent.
In response to the report, the AoA says it plans to conduct training sessions with ombudsmen on the use of complaint codes.
Meanwhile, the OIG report says cases reported to NORS involving abuse of residents peaked in 1998 and have declined by 3% since then. The total for all reported abuse cases rose from 13,469 in 1996 to 15,501 in 1998 and declined to 15,010 in 2000.
The report says six of the top 10 complaint categories had to do with resident care:
- failure to respond to call lights or requests for assistance;
- accidents and improper handling of residents;
- lack of adequate care plans and resident assessments;
- inadequate administration of medications;
- unattended resident symptoms; and
- poor personal hygiene.