Covering Louisiana

Aug 16, 2013 11:50 AM

Report: La. ranks 2nd worst in nursing home care

BATON ROUGE | Louisiana nursing home care ranked second-worst in the nation, failing every staffing measure in a report by Families for Better Care, a nonprofit group whose goal is to improve long-term care.

The group scored, ranked and graded states on eight federal quality measures, such as the average number of hours of nursing care each resident received per day.

Joseph Donchess, executive director of the Louisiana Nursing Home Association, tells The Advocate the report was filled with "half-truths" and "no truths."

Louisiana nursing homes provide care for around 30,000 people. The report gave Louisiana an F and said the state's nursing home residents receive 32 minutes of professional nursing care per day.

For example, the professional nursing measure did not include care by licensed practical nurses, or LPNs. The report does not mention that Louisiana nursing homes provide three hours of LPN care per resident per day, several minutes more than the national average.

Donchess said Louisiana is only a few minutes below the national average in both nursing assistant and physical therapist staff hours per resident per day.

"We believe a shortage of a few minutes should hardly score an F," he said.

Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care, said the group looked at registered nurses and direct-care staffing, or nursing assistants.

"We are looking at the most skilled professionals working in the nursing homes who . have oversight of those front-line caregivers," Lee said.

The report found that only Texas ranked worse than Louisiana. The top states were Alaska, Hawaii and Maine.

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