Easing Of Federal Nursing Home Regulations Raises Concerns In Connecticut

Three years ago, Meredith Phillips’ mother, Georgia Svolos, fell and broke her kneecap, setting off a downward spiral that landed her in nursing homes on and off for a year. In one facility, she fell and broke her knee again, necessitating more surgery. All of the facilities were noisy and chaotic, and one smelled of feces. So, when Phillips learned recently about moves by the Trump administration to ease regulations and fines on nursing homes, she was alarmed. “I’m horrified and frightened,” says Phillips, who lives in Westbrook.

High Use Of Antipsychotics In Nursing Homes Stirs Concerns, Reforms

The Westside Care Center in Manchester is ranked among the best nursing homes in Connecticut, receiving a ‘five-star’ rating for overall quality under a federal rating system. At the same time, Westside has the state’s highest percentage of residents who receive antipsychotic drugs, even though they do not have a psychosis or related condition that regulators say warrants their use. Federal data shows 68 percent of Westside long-stay residents were receiving the drugs – more than double the state’s average of 26 percent, which already ranks in the top-third of states nationally. A C-HIT review of federal nursing home data from December found that Westside is not alone: High antipsychotic use, considered dangerous and unnecessary in many cases, does not impact quality ratings of nursing homes, and is often unknown to consumers selecting a home. In three-dozen Connecticut homes, at least a third of long-stay residents are on antipsychotics – yet nearly half of those homes have excellent overall ratings, of 4 to 5 stars.