Patients hope new nursing home rules fix problems

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Walk in Mary Stoots’ home, and it’s obvious. Like her living room wall, her life is filled with happy memories.

“Making people smile is better than anything else in the world,” she said.

There are photos of her days as a local performer at bars like Deibel’s in German Village and of her family.

As she looks back at the days when getting around was a little easier for her, she thinks of a turning point.

After a hospital stay for a cracked hip, Stoots says she was discharged too soon and given just 15-minutes notice to pick a rehab center from a list.

“They were either all taken or my insurance didn’t cover them,” she said.

With slim options, she says she regretted her choice for a nursing home the minute medics rolled her beyond the front door.

“It was filthy. There was a padlock on the closet there was as dirty chair leaning against the door holding it open,” she said.

10TV obtained the Ohio Department of Health’s investigative reports and found that statewide, on average, most facilities had between five and six deficiencies a year.

Looking at records we obtained from 2015, Ohio Department of Health Investigated everything from “not receiving necessary care and services” to not getting “proper treatment to prevent new bed sores.”

This is why Mary says, before considering nursing care, do your research.

“Look at everything because if you’re going to leave your mom in a place like this, you want to see the entire facility not just the inside,” she said.

How can loved ones protect their family members? How do they make the right choices in such a short time?

They’re the type of questions Beverly Laubert is used to being asked.

As a state long-term care ombudsman, her job is to investigate patient complaints.

She says sweeping changes and new federal guidelines for the way nursing home operators run their facilities are changing to better address patient needs and complaints.

Laubert says the number one issue her office investigates relates to discharge.

One of the federal changes addresses that.

In the past, some nursing homes had to notify family members ahead of time that patients are being discharged.

Laubert says, now all nursing homes have to give a written notice of patient discharge to her office, any family members and the patients themselves.

“We don’t know how many other people get notices and think well I guess I better move mom. And they don’t question it. So we do want people to question it,” said Laubert.

New federal guidelines for short and long term care facilities take effect November 28.

Tonight at 11: What you need to know about a fix that’s coming for issues 10 Investigates exposed with nursing home care across Ohio.

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