Articles Tagged with neglect in nursing homes

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Medicare warnings to nursing homes that are believed to engage in the overuse of antipsychotic drugs among their residents can help reduce these dangerous practices.

Some of the common medications that can be used on nursing home residents include quetiapine which is often used to help treat symptoms of anxiety, hallucinations and delusions among persons suffering from dementia.  Research  suggests that as many as one in every 7 nursing home residents is prescribed the drug.  While  the drug can be helpful in controlling the symptoms, it is not without its side effects which include kidney injury, heart   failure and an increased risk of strokes and blood clots.  According  to one study,  long term use of quetiapine is associated with a 62% increased risk in kidney damage and a 27% increase  in heart failure risks. These residents may also have a 65% increased risk of suffering a stroke.  Bone  fractures are also another huge risk with an estimated 43% increased risk among patients on quetiapine.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are currently investigating an increase in the use of antipsychotic medications at some nursing home facilities across the country.  As  part of the investigation, the agency found that more than 5,000 doctors were aggressively prescribing medications to patients at several facilities.  More  than 80,000 patients were receiving these medications.

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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.

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