Many nursing homes pose various risks to residents and staff members alike, making them highly dangerous. As a result of the pandemic, nursing homes have experienced over 170,000 deaths from Covid-19, including the deaths of both staff members and long-term care residents. However, following the pandemic, the broken long-term care system in America could put people in danger long after the effects of the pandemic have waned.
A Lack of Funding Contributes to Unsafe Environments
The main culprit behind America’s most dangerous nursing homes is insufficient funds directed toward caregiving, despite the fact that the American public helps cover the costs of the country’s long-term care system. Industry experts have argued that while the pandemic led to many deaths in nursing homes, it also revealed the many flaws present in this dysfunctional system.
Experts also believe that the attention that the pandemic drew to the nursing home crisis may lead to significant changes. These changes could have made nursing homes much safer in the years leading up to the pandemic.
As a result of the pandemic and the impact it had on nursing homes across the country, elder care advocates such as nursing home abuse attorneys want to see transparency in the way nursing homes use the funds they receive. Additionally, they would like to see certain restrictions around how they use that money.
Low Wages for Nursing Home Staff Leads to Increased Risk
Nursing homes often face many problems when it comes to proper care for nursing home residents. For instance, many residents are victims of elder abuse or neglect that leads to serious injuries or even fatalities, including exposure to illnesses such as Covid-19.
Regarding Covid-19, nursing homes are naturally ideal locations for viruses to spread. Many residents live together in more confined spaces, and they require the help of nursing home staff to perform routine activities such as getting out of bed and bathing. In the process, both staff and residents come into close contact with potentially ill individuals, and they may not be aware of it.
When the pandemic began spreading, federal officials identified the first case of a nursing home outbreak in Washington state. They ultimately concluded that part of the reason for the spread was the fact that staff members often worked in more than one facility. Many nursing home workers choose to work multiple jobs because of the low wages paid direct caregivers, along with insufficient benefits. In the process of working in several locations, the risk of exposure to Covid-19 increased.
Staff Shortages Complicate Matters
As more staff members either quarantined or left their jobs entirely, staff shortages at nursing homes increased throughout the pandemic. In turn, residents actually saw greater risks of exposure to the virus, which is partially due to the inability for residents to isolate as easily without assistance.
With the help of increased funding for caregiving and nursing home staff, industry experts believe that the quality of care for residents would improve drastically. Nursing home staff wouldn’t need to work more than one job and increase the risk of exposure, and fewer staff shortages would ensure residents receive better care. Subsequently, America’s nursing homes would be safer for both residents and employees.