The California Gardens Nursing and Rehab Center is a large Chicago nursing home on Southern California Boulevard near Lawndale. Large may be an understatement – California Gardens has 297 beds.
The numbers provided to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid tell a distressing story. With 297 beds, the nursing home has the potential to generate an incredible amount of income. Nursing homes that care for Medicaid patients (practically every nursing home) receive funds in the neighborhood of $100 per day. Even if the nursing home has 50 empty beds, that’s approximately $750,000 monthly.
And yet, the quality of care being provided is inadequate and coolly calculated to maximize that profit at the expense of the residents.
Staffing at California Gardens is embarrassingly low. Because of the wide variation in the number of residents at any given nursing home, staffing assessment is generally based on the amount of staff time available for each resident on a daily basis. Residents at California Gardens receive half the amount of staffing time that the average Illinois nursing home provides.
That’s a pitiful number, and it helps explain why there are more pressure ulcers (bed sores) in high-risk residents than the state and national averages.
Typically, low staffing numbers also translate into high numbers of nursing home falls. Nursing home falls are extremely dangerous and often lead to infections, depression, blood clots, bed sores, and death.
In order to prevent nursing home falls while providing half the nursing care, California Gardens nursing home has resorted to physically restraining their residents. The number of residents who are physically restrained is 3 times the national average.
Often nursing home residents feel that they are prisoners in the facility. California Gardens has made them prisoners in their own chairs and beds.
California Gardens has found other ways to cut costs as well. For example, only 1 out of 5 short-stay residents are given the flu vaccine. The national average is 4 out of 5.
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