10 Top Sources and Causes of Nursing Home Crises
Jack Halpern, Founder and CEO of My Elder Advocate, is a trusted advisor for elders and their families, assisting them with drafting blueprints for their future.
He and his team help clients navigate the difficult and sometimes confusing pathways of elder care. As a result, elders and their families have peace of mind knowing, a plan of action is in place to help them maintain control,
preserve their dignity and protect their independence, finances, property and rights.
by Jack Halpern-My Elder Advocate
At some point in an elder’s life, a fall, stroke or other debilitating illness or condition makes it necessary for them to enter a nursing home. Unfortunately, nursing homes can be extremely dangerous places for the people they are charged with protecting!
Placements in a nursing home could be for a brief period of physical and occupational rehabilitation. But in many cases, long-term placement is required because an elder can no longer function without 24/7 skilled care.
There is no greater fear for an elderly person than being placed in a nursing home – even on a short-term basis. This fear is well founded in reality. The Federal Government admits that 45% of our 16,000 nursing homes are substandard. Another 25% of our nursing homes are labeled as “average.”
There’s not much room for error. These statistics mean that the uninitiated need an experienced navigator to cross enter this often-dangerous jungle… because the consequences of being in a bad nursing home can lead to death.
10 Top Sources and Causes of Nursing Home Crises
Nursing homes are supposed to keep elderly family members safe. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. These 10 line items create compounded problems that multiply until the only result is a death that didn’t have to happen the way it did.
Poor Staffing – Although there is a direct correlation between adequate staffing and quality of care, an overwhelming majority are regularly understaffed. This is especially true in the for-profit facilities that constitute 65% of U.S. nursing homes. In addition, because a majority of nurses’ aides and ancillary workers in facilities are underpaid and others work two shifts, this increases the risk to residents’ lives even more. Many for-profit nursing homes keep their facilities artificially understaffed.
Poor Infection Control – A dirty and germ infested environment is very dangerous to people whose health and immune systems are already severely compromised. Poor housekeeping, patient handling, food handling, and poor training are mostly responsible for this risk.
Decubitus Ulcers (aka Bedsores) – Bedridden nursing home residents may develop bedsores as a direct result of poor nursing care. Bedridden elders should be moved or repositioned every 2 hours to minimize rubbing, pressure, and friction. Lubricants and protective padding may also be helpful. Incontinent patients are particularly susceptible to bedsores because exposure to moisture from urine increases the risk of skin damage. Incredibly, more people in nursing homes die from complications resulting from bedsores than from any other illness. Click here to Learn More
Poor Nutrition – It’s a well-known fact that the lack of adequate nutrition can result in malnourishment. In turn, that can lead to a host of physical and mental problems –– including increasing the risk of developing bedsores. Since many residents have to be fed, lack of adequate staffing exacerbates this problem. In many cases feeding tubes are suggested for residents, to accommodate the staff.
Chemical Restraints and Management – Poor nursing homes use anti-psychotic drugs to manage or chemically restrain their hard-to-manage residents. Alzheimer’s and Dementia residents are especially at risk of being overmedicated with anti-psychotic drugs such as Haldol™, Risperdal™, Adavan™, and Seroquel™. The prolonged effects of these drugs are harmful and usually lead to death.
Nursing Home Evictions – There are many reasons why a nursing home might want to evict a resident. There are only five specific and clearly defined instances in which a resident of a nursing home may be evicted. It is clearly illegal to remove a resident for any other reason. Yet hundreds of residents are evicted every day from facilities. In some cases, a nursing home might not want to release a resident. This usually occurs when the resident is paying privately and the nursing home doesn’t want to lose the revenue.
- Report: Nursing Home Shift Needs More Oversight (wnyc.org)
- Is your loved one safe? The growth of nursing home abuse and how to detect it (examiner.com)
- Thousands of U.S. Nursing Home Residents Have Savings Stolen by Trusted Care Facilities (truthfrequencyradio.com)
- Inspection found serious problems at Greenfield nursing home (jsonline.com)
- Fine slapped on five doctors of nursing home (assamtribune.com)