Nursing Home Quality of Life Improvements Urged by Medicare

Carl Saiontz

By Carl Saiontz
Posted June 29, 2009


New guidance issued by Medicare calls for nursing homes to change the way they operate, and make elderly care facilities less like hospitals and more like a warm, comforting, home environment. Improving nursing home quality of life for residents will help maintain the dignity people deserve in their final years, and hopefully reduce the incidence of nursing home neglect and abuse.

The guidance was released June 12 by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It includes a list of things that nursing homes can do to restore dignity and mental well-being to nursing home residents. A large number of the suggestions are geared, for the most part, toward nursing home residents like respected human beings.

The suggestions have a strong emphasis on dignity and independence, without compromising care and safety, with recommendations like:

  • Allow residents to dress in their own clothes, as opposed to hospital gowns
  • Use napkins instead of bibs, unless requested by the resident
  • Avoid standing over residents while they eat
  • Grooming residents how they wish to be groomed
  • Giving residents the right to choose health care and activities schedules
  • Allowing residents the right to choose who they room with.
  • Avoid staff conversing in the presence of residents as if the resident is not there.

According to the Medicare guidance:

A personalized, homelike environment recognizes the individuality and autonomy of the resident, provides an opportunity of self-expression, and encourages links with the past and family members. The intent of the word “homelike” in this regulation is that the nursing home should provide an environment as close to that of the environment of a private home as possible. This concept of creating a home setting includes the elimination of institutional odors, and practices to the extent possible.

If staff are required to treat a facility like a home where residents live, then not only could it lead to an increase in personal dignity for those residents, but it could also lead to an increased view of them as dignified and independent people by staff. This could certainly result in a reduction in cases of abuse and neglect.


The attorneys at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate potential cases for nursing home abuse and neglect throughout the United States. In many cases where serious injuries are caused by poor care, there is a culture among the nursing home employees where residents are not afforded the respect and dignity that they have earned over their lifetime.

If your friend or family member has suffered a nursing home injury caused by inadequate care, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

No Comments • Add Your Comments

Add Your Comments

  • Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

    Provide contact information below and additional private comments if you want an attorney to contact you to review a potential case.

    The information below will not be published to this page.

  • NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.