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Staffing Shortages, Infection Control Issues Plague Nursing Homes

Many nursing homes in the United States continue to face staffing shortages and struggle with controlling infections in their facilities. Both issues present serious health and safety concerns for residents. Unfortunately, neither challenge is easily addressed.

According  to a new report, many nursing facilities in the United States continue to have problems with retaining staff and struggle with low staffing levels. The report was released by the Inspector General’s Office at the Department of Health and Human Services and states that high levels of employee attrition rates, huge employee turnover and employee burnout are to blame for many of these staffing shortages.

Many nursing facilities now grapple with the challenges of not just losing experienced employees, but also training fresh hires to meet federal standards.  Lower numbers of staff members on roll or fewer trained staff members mean a higher risk of  abuse  and neglect at these nursing facilities. Many experienced workers fled the industry during the pandemic when nursing homes were found to have the highest levels of Covid-19 infection rates, and most nursing homes that lost large numbers of workers are still struggling to meet the shortfall.  Recruitment and staffing firms that supply workers to these nursing homes are also charging higher rates than earlier, putting more pressure on the facilities.

Moreover, the report also mentions that many nursing homes, likely because of understaffing, are also struggling with infection control measures.    COVID- 19 vaccination booster shot rates at these facilities are also much lower than needed to ensure a safe facility. Only 38% of residents  are up to date on their   boosters while only 15% of staff members are completely vaccinated.  The elderly and often ill residents  at these facilities are already at a much higher risk of contracting infections, and those risks are simply exacerbated by these alarmingly low vaccination rates.

All of these problems significantly increase the risk of abuse or neglect of residents in these nursing homes.  If  your loved one  is currently at a nursing home, make sure that you visit him or her regularly and look for signs of abuse or neglect including malnutrition,  the presence of  pressure ulcers,   bruises and  restraint marks. If you find significant changes in your loved one’s personality like anxiety or fearfulness – make sure you take up the reasons for this with the staff. Do not take complaints from your loved one about staff members’ mistreatment or poor care at the nursing home lightly. Often these complaints are reflective of poor care, while staff often attempt to avoid responsibility by attributing the complaints to cognitive issues of the patient.

The Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons who have suffered injuries  as a result of abuse or neglect in nursing homes in the metro Atlanta region and across the state of Georgia. Victims  of nursing home abuse may be eligible for compensation for their damages.  If  you  suspect that your loved one  is being  abused at a nursing home,  take up the matter with staff members or management at the facility, and  talk to an attorney at our firm about your legal options. Initial consultations at our firm are free.

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