The rising fatalities in American nursing homes have put the industry in the spotlight. The pandemic has exposed the broken nursing home system. As a result, the public has started to take note of the rising number of residents suffering from neglect in these facilities. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that roughly 95% of the elderly persons in nursing homes have suffered neglect.
The media glare on this issue is a step in the right direction. The media has the power to pressure the authorities to reform the ailing nursing industry, once and for all. Without these reforms, millions of Americans aged 65 years and above remain vulnerable to abuse and neglect in the many nursing homes across the nation.
Nursing Home Negligence
The Department of Justice (DoJ) reckons that nursing home negligence is the leading form of elder abuse in the nation. This abuse often goes unreported. In fact, only one out of 57 victims of elder abuse speaks up.
The renewed focus on nursing homes should be used as a rallying call for reforms. By 2040, America will have an elderly population of 40 million. All stakeholders need to join forces to avoid a replay of the current scenarios defining American nursing homes.
Push for Nursing Home Reforms
It’s the opportune time for newspapers, media stations, lawmakers, and advocates to lobby for nursing home reforms. Facilities found to be neglecting the residents should incur hefty fines or be closed down altogether.
Before the public complains about understaffed nursing homes, however, keeping some facts in mind is important. First, Medicaid doesn’t cover long-term care in most states. This forces nursing homes to cut back on staffing costs.
Plus, in the wake of the pandemic, the costs of medical care have skyrocketed but the federal funding has remained the same. It has been reported that many nursing homes don’t have the resources to test residents for the virus. That makes it easy for the virus to spread uncontrollably among these vulnerable senior citizens.
Possible Causes of Negligence in Nursing Homes
Many American nursing homes are understaffed. That shortfall ends up overburdening the staff members. The stress and exhaustion rid them of their abilities to deliver quality care.
Lack of Background Checks
Some nursing homes don’t perform proper background checks when hiring. They end up hiring semi-skilled staff members or those with active criminal records. Having unqualified or individuals of questionable character in the nursing home workforce increases the risk of elder abuse and neglect.
Nursing homes could be employing under-trained staff members to try to fill the staff shortfalls. These under-trained staff members may make disastrous mistakes that can cause irreparable harm to the residents.
The Key Takeaways
The spotlight on the neglect in American nursing homes is a welcome reprieve for all. The media attention ought to kick-start the desperately needed nursing home reforms.
What usually happens is that once the cameras disappear, the public forgets all about the nursing home abuse incident. Once the story fades from the headlines, the politicians and activists go quiet.
Hopefully, this time around, the media will not shift its glare elsewhere until something gets done. Stakeholders must use this limelight to bring partners on board. These partners will help ease the financial burdens faced by nursing homes in their day-to-day operations. The future of elder care lies squarely in the arms of stakeholders like families of residents, nursing home staff members, the media, lawmakers, advocates, and insurance companies.short url: