MemberoftheFamily.net provides information on nearly 16,000 U.S. nursing homes, including easy-to-understand Nursing Home Reports based on recent government surveys.
Below is a description of the events that led to the founding of MemberoftheFamily.net.
A Need for Vigilance
In 1996, during a routine visit to one of his patients in a Maryland nursing home, Dr. Edward C.“Terry”Watters noticed that her sight-threatening condition had worsened since his last visit. He discovered that his orders for treatment had not been followed, and as he was noting this in the patient’s chart, a staff member asked him not to do so because that would “cause problems” for the home—financially and with state reporting agencies. The staff member exhibited no sympathy for any pain the patient might be experiencing because of the failure to follow the treatment regimen.
During the course of several visits, Terry noted in the chart additional times when the prescribed regimen hadn't been followed and confronted the staff about the problem. The last straw -- and Terry’s sense of a need for constant vigilance -came when a staff member informed Terry that his notes had been removed from the chart because they would be a "red flag" to state auditors. Dr. Watters subsequently learned that another patient in the home had recently died and that evidence suggested falsification of records regarding the details of the death.
A Plan of Action
Dr. Watters knew that the standards of care had been violated and the patients had suffered greatly because of this. He drew up a plan of action to help reduce the likelihood of such incidents in the future. He and a partner, Dennis Steele, learned how to petition for government reports about nursing homes—among them the federal Online Survey Certification and Reporting (OSCAR) 3 and 4 data—and how to read them. As they assembled the facts and ran statistical analyses, a bleak picture emerged of understaffing, physical abuse, untreated bedsores, and coldhearted decision-making by home operators and state officials charged with monitoring facilities.
Research Made Available to VHA and the Public
MemberoftheFamily.net first made its data available to the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in Washington, D.C, and North Carolina. The data analyzed government reports about nursing homes in which veterans reside. Now many VHA offices across the country subscribe to our service. Since 1999, we have made our research about the nearly 16,000 Medicare/Medicaid-certified nursing homes available to the general public, providing easy-to-understand information from state and federal reports.
What We Do, in a Nutshell
1) Provide easy-to-read reports to help families choose the right nursing home for their loved ones. State survey results for health, fire-safety, and other violations and complaints will help you choose a qualified home for your loved one.
2) With our book, we unlock the secrets of nursing home practices. Conceived by a doctor and featured on the Today show, our book Danger Zone helps families become better advocates for their loved ones.
Memberof theFamily.net is not affiliated with any other organization. Because we do not want to compromise the integrity of the information we present, we have always self-funded our work to provide families with the unbiased information they need to make decisions about long-term care. Please help us by telling others about our reports and our book. Spread the word that patients and families have a right to ask questions and to demand quality care.
Feel free to post comments on our Facebook wall, sharing your advice and experiences. The nursing home industry is large and well-practiced at getting what it wants, but together we can speak out about the abuses in the system and ask regulatory agencies and our elected representatives to listen and act. If you feel you can contribute to our efforts in any way, please contact us.