Analysis: Facility deficiencies slip, but resident abuse holds steady

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Nursing home deficiencies causing harm to residents declined from 7% to 6.5% from 2003 to 2004, but patient abuse remained stable at 17% of complaints registered, according to an analysis of the HealthGrades' Ratings.

Overall, deficiencies cited per nursing home fell slightly from 2003 to 2004, the analysis found. HealthGrades' Nursing Home Quality Reports include star ratings of nearly every nursing home in the country.

Some other specifics of the analysis: The most frequently cited deficiencies in 2004 were 1) failing to store, prepare, and distribute food in a sanitary manner and 2) improperly providing services to improve and maintain their residents' well being. Also, accidents made up more than 25% of all actual harm citations.

Ratings for each of 15,375 Medicare/Medicaid certified nursing homes are available to consumers at