Staff shortages at nursing homes are far from a new issue. In fact, this has been a growing concern since the 1980s. However, recently, staff shortages at nursing homes have become even more of an issue than ever before. Many experts say this could be leading negative health effects and even negligence in nursing homes across the United States, including in California. Here is what families should know about nursing home shortages and how they could affect the care for loved ones.
How significant are the staffing issues for nursing homes?
According to the American Health Care Association, 98% of nursing homes are struggling to find qualified workers. In fact, the situation for the majority of nursing homes is so dire that they may have to close their doors, with 73% saying staffing issues may make it impossible for them to remain open. There are several reasons leading to this, such as low compensation for health care professionals in nursing homes and increased demand from an aging population.
Is there a difference between the situation at for-profit and non-profit nursing homes?
Many experts say that for-profit nursing homes are a significant part of the issue, as a focus on profits can be quite damaging to quality of care. This is especially true when care costs increase, and for-profit homes feel forced to cut corners in order to stay profitable. Data shows that private nursing homes are over 11% more likely to have a preventable visit to an emergency department and nearly 9% more likely to have a hospitalization or preventable reasons. With that being said, there are a lot of responsible corporate owned nursing homes, so it can sometimes come down to ownership and, again, staffing.
What can be done to prevent and respond to negligence due to staffing issues?
Experts say that limited spaces and long waiting lists make families hesitant to speak out about mistreatment or potential negligence in nursing homes for fear that they will lose their spot. However, asking key questions and staying vigilant his highly important for the well-being of a loved one in a nursing home. Legislation also plays a role, and both state and national laws can make a difference in how nursing homes choose to operate. Despite the best efforts of loved ones and some lawmakers, nursing home negligence continues to be a serious concern in California and across the United States. Individuals whose family members have been a victim of such negligence could benefit from contacting a lawyer for guidance on the best path forward.