Elder abuse in nursing homes is largely due to the inadequate staff levels. According to a 2001 Health and Human Services (HHS) study, 90 percent of nursing homes are understaffed. Lack of adequate staffing is known to lead to:
- An over-worked staff.
- An under-trained staff.
- High staff turnover.
- Mistakes in patient care.
- Inadequate time with patients. (Most nursing homes do not meet the federal government’s recommendation for 4 hours of patients care with every patient, daily.)
- Staff exhaustion, burn-out and stress
- Inadequate staff-to-patient ratios
- Inadequate staff background checks.
- 90 percent of nursing homes employ at least one staff member with a criminal background.
- Almost 50 percent employ 5 or more staff members with at least one conviction.
- 5 percent of nursing home staff members have at least one criminal conviction.
A Look at The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Nursing Home Abuse
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect nursing homes in a positive way and, if successful, curb the rate of abuse in these facilities. According to Families USA, the ACA will establish important programs, committees, and grants that will increase the effectiveness of the long-term care workforce and care. These numerous establishments aim to:
Improve the long-term facility workforce through:
- Increasing the size of the long-term care workforce to meet the needs of long-term care residents.
- Understanding and analyzing workforce supply and demand.
- Encouraging people to enter the long-term care workforce.
- Curbing the long-term care workforce’s staff turnover rate through retention efforts.
- Improve the quality of staff training by educating staff about demanding resident conditions, such as dementia; proper ethics; the importance of reporting staff abuses of residentsm identifying signs of elder abuse and identifying administrative abuse.
- Increasing the at-home care and decreasing long-term care facility usage; at-home care is less expensive to state and federal governments
- Increasing the knowledge of caregivers by providing resources concerning finances, care, etc.
- Increasing consumer knowledge of nursing home facility deficiencies and staffing levels.
- Improving long-term facility environments.
- Increasing resources to increase how quickly elder abuse cases are investigated.
- Establishing quality staffs through mandatory nationwide staff background checks and education.
Amber Paley, Blogger/Writer
Nursing Home Abuse.net