In our most recent article, we discussed the increasing need for nursing homes in America and why choosing a nursing home is getting much more difficult. The fact is, more nursing homes are needed because a) people are living longer than ever thanks to vaccinations, sanitation, safer surgeries, and advances in medicine, and b) the Baby Boomers are reaching the age at which they require long-term care. In other words, there are more elderly people than there have ever been in human history, and that means a growing need for those who ensure nursing home quality of care.
Facilities Are Getting More Crowded
People have known about the Baby Boomer surge in the birth rate since the mid-1940s, but the need for nursing homes still hasn’t been properly addressed. While there has been an increase in the number of nursing homes built across the country, many of them are getting overcrowded.
When it comes time to choose a nursing home, what should you look for when it comes to overcrowding? This is an excellent question to ask your nursing home advocate when you talk to them.
Facilities are Getting Older
Even as facilities are getting more crowded, the fact can’t be ignored that they also getting older. More senior citizens in a nursing home will tax the facility even more, including the plumbing, electrical systems, and all other infrastructure. Entropy also takes its toll, as aging components of the nursing home start to deteriorate.
When you’re choosing a nursing home, some of these problems are obvious. For instance, stains on the ceiling could mean a leaky roof or sprinkler system, and broken floor tiles could be a tripping hazard. But other problems aren’t so obvious, such as the state of their resident call system. You might also not notice any pest control problems, but it could be serious. It’s also unlikely that you’ll check the handrails while you’re touring a facility, but these can play an important part in resident safety and mobility. You can read more about problems that affect nursing home facilities right here.
A nursing home advocate like Guardians of Care can investigate a nursing home to ensure that the facility is an appropriate one for you or a loved one.
The Nursing Shortage Looms
Is the nursing home you’re considering properly staffed with the right number of nurses and certified nursing assistants (CNAs)? Do you know what the proper ratio is? Unfortunately, some nursing homes try to get by on too few nurses, a problem that will only get worse due to a looming nursing shortage.
Where did the nursing shortage come from? Once it again comes down to the Baby Boomers and how many of them survived long enough to need a long-term care facility. More Baby Boomers means a need for more nurses in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes. Also, more nurses are reaching retirement age than ever before. This need for nurses causes some nursing homes to skimp on care as nurses become harder to find, which could lead to elder neglect.
Many Staff Members Are Inexperienced
The nursing shortage is just now starting to be addressed, as nursing schools ramp up their programs in order to train more nurses and CNAs. But that also means that there are many nurses who simply don’t have the decades of experience of a retiring nurse. These new nurses might not know how to deal with particular situations that arise in a nursing home, which could lead to nursing home neglect or, even worse, nursing home abuse.
Do You Need Help?
If you need help choosing a nursing home, or believe that a friend or loved one currently in a nursing home might be experiencing any type of neglect, it’s important to get them help. Contact Guardians of Care and we’ll be their nursing home advocate.