It’s no secret that the healthcare field has seen a decrease in workers. The impact of this downward trend is acutely felt in the long-term care industry.
Unfortunately, staffing shortages may lead to an increase in patient neglect.
Protecting your loved ones
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) defines neglect as “the failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.”
It occurs when a nursing home fails to provide the necessities of life, such as food, water, shelter, or medical care. It also refers to the failure to provide adequate supervision, leading to an increased risk of falls, bedsores and other injuries. In some cases, neglect may be intentional, but in different situations, it may result from inadequate staffing or training.
Two other factors exacerbate the problem of inadequate staffing. First, due to better access to healthcare, people are living longer. Furthermore, as people age, programs are in place to keep them independent and in their homes for as long as possible. When ready for nursing home placement, they require complete care, which adds an increased burden to an already overworked staff.
Several signs may indicate that a nursing home resident is being neglected. These include sudden weight loss, bed sores, dehydration, unusual bruising or cuts, and changes in mood or personality. Nursing home residents who are being neglected may also be dirty, have unkempt hair, and wear soiled clothing.
If you suspect a loved one is being neglected in a nursing home, it is crucial to speak up. Contact the nursing home administration and express your concerns. You will also want to contact your state’s long-term care ombudsman and department of health. By taking action, you can help to ensure that your loved one receives the care and attention they deserve.