The most recent data on inspections of New Jersey nursing homes show a wide range of differences in the number of violations found at facilities.
An analysis of the results of the three most recent inspections by the state Department of Health found only one problem at 29 of 331 nursing homes that accept Medicare or Medicaid patients, or 9 percent of all, in their most recent inspections conducted between February 2011 and July 2012.
Another 18 percent, or 60 nursing homes, had more than 10 violations, with 11 of those having more than 20 problems discovered.
This is already a concern for some 42,000 New Jerseyans age 65 and older who live in nursing homes and similar facilities, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2011.
And as the baby boomers age into their 60s and beyond, it will become a concern for a growing number and their loved ones.
State officials inspect homes on contract with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure the facilities meet federal standards and provide acceptable care to residents.
Inspectors typically spend several days at a location, checking compliance with about 1,500 state and federal regulations involving such areas as residents' rights, dietary services, housekeeping, staffing and quality of care.
On average, nursing homes are inspected once a year, more often for those with a pattern of deficiencies. Additionally, inspectors visit facilities to conduct investigations after complaints are received – about 2,650 complaints in New Jersey each year.
Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.