Nursing home errors have long been an issue long before a worldwide pandemic spread throughout the United States. Continuous calls for reform were numerous and shone a bright light on facilities that care for the disabled and senior population.
A lack of necessary resources
The latest crisis involves staffing shortages stretching budgets to their limits, almost to the breaking point. A 15-month pandemic made a bad situation worse. Employees continue to quit in droves due to sheer burnout combined with concerns over their own mental and physical health.
A recent survey revealed that all but six percent of nursing homes nationwide lack the personnel they need to function properly.
Pennsylvania’s problems go beyond employees bailing out. Three-quarters of facilities are operating in the red, lacking the resources necessary for new hires and providing additional pay for existing staff members. New expenditures, including COVID-era protective equipment, represent a significant expense, as is ongoing COVID-19 testing for residents and employees.
The problem could result in nursing home closings in the state and nationwide at a time when a highly contagious Delta variant sweeps across the state and the country. Pennsylvania’s senior demographic continues to increase alongside the need for adequate staffing levels.
Health care officials on the front lines refer to the situation as “dire” and perhaps the most significant crisis in the long-term care industry. Adding to those concerns are current regulations that have gone 20 years without any updates or modifications.
Solutions are needed and quickly. Fewer people taking care of more nursing home residents is a recipe for disaster. Staff taking on too many patients will likely result in errors, oversights, and frustration that may lead to resident abuse.