Guide to planning seasonal celebrations
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Multimedia slide show with capsule previews of upcoming films
A primer for parents
Special report about weapons of mass destruction
Special report: Wetlands' demise ripples across nation
Continuing coverage of the conflict in Iraq
|Nursing home terminology steeped
Gannett News Service
WASHINGTON — Because the federal and state governments pay for
nearly 60 percent of all nursing home bills, the world of nursing
homes is steeped in regulatory jargon. A brief glossary of some important
phrases to help a novice navigate.
Actual harm: A deficiency that has harmed a nursing
home resident’s health.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Formerly
known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), this federal
agency is responsible for administering the Medicare and several other
health-related programs. Often identified by the acronym CMS.
Deficiency: Violation of federal minimum standards
for patient care.
Immediate jeopardy: A deficiency that has caused
or is likely to cause serious injury, harm, impairment or death to
a resident receiving care in a nursing home.
Infection: Includes pneumonia, wound infections and
urinary tract or bladder infections.
Medicaid: A joint federal-state health insurance
program for the poor. Will pay nursing home costs for those medically
and financially qualified.
Medicare: Federal health care insurance for those
65 and older, some disabled, and people with end-stage kidney disease.
Medicare will cover most of the cost of for a limited stay at a skilled
nursing facility following a three-day hospital stay.
Minimum data set: A federal form nursing homes must
fill out to assess residents’ health status.
Physical restraint: Any device, material or equipment
that keeps a resident from moving freely. Examples: Special vests,
chairs with lap trays, ankle restraints, or wrist restraints. Bed
rails also can be considered physical restraints.
Pain: Nursing homes record residents as suffering
from pain if a resident expresses he or she experienced “very
bad” pain at any time, or “moderate” pain every
day, in the seven days before the assessment.
Pressure sore: A skin wound commonly called a bedsore.
Areas most likely to develop pressure sores are heels, elbows, shoulders
and the bony parts of a person’s bottom, spots where pressure
from bones is exerted against skin. To prevent pressure sores, patients
should be repositioned every two or three hours so blood is allowed
to flow to the endangered areas, their skin should be kept clean and
dry, and they should sit or lie on ample cushioning to reduce the
Scope and severity matrix: The government’s
system to rate the seriousness of a violation of federal minimum standards
for patient care. For each violation, a state inspector determines
the harm to a resident and how widespread the problem is within a
nursing home. Each violation is assigned a letter grade, A to L. A
is the least serious.
Survey: A nursing home inspection.
Source: GNS research
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