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Are nursing home injuries caused by systemic problems?

| Jan 22, 2021 | Nursing Home Abuse |

Elderly nursing home residents face physical injuries in countless situations. They rely on the care and attention of the facility’s staff to ensure their safety at every turn. Unfortunately, systemic problems can prevent a nursing home from protecting the health and wellbeing of the residents.

While it is not uncommon for residents to suffer physical or emotional abuse as a result of intentional harm caused by the nursing home staff, it is also possible that issues were caused by larger problems. A facility that is run with a staffing deficiency, for example, or an industry that faces inadequate government inspections can easily turn a blind eye to these systemic problems.

A literature review highlighted eight strategies that could be used to improve the quality of care in nursing homes across the nation. One of these strategies, strengthening the caregiving workforce, is a key component to helping elderly nursing home residents avoid catastrophic injuries.

Strengthening the caregiving workforce

Individualized attention is the cornerstone of quality healthcare. Elderly residents require monitoring from tasks as simple as safe walkways to the more complex elements of accurate medication distribution. There are three core strategies that can be used to prevent serious accidents in a nursing home:

  1. Improve staffing ratios: While it is ultimately a bottom-line issue, proper staffing levels are key. With adequate staffing, a nursing home can perform maintenance and janitorial services necessary to keep the facility safe. Additionally, patient care is paramount. From turning an immobile patient to prevent bedsores to ensuring everyone has the proper food and liquids to prevent malnutrition and dehydration, having the right staff in place is important.
  2. Improve training: More workers and better training often go hand-in-hand. It is not enough to have the right staffing level, but the staff must be appropriately trained. From general care instructions to personalized attention, the staff must be equipped to handle complex, frustrating scenarios. Additionally, the staff is relied upon to distribute medication accurately and this might become a challenging task as many medications have similar-sounding names, similar appearances and similar bottle-styles.
  3. Improve compensation and working conditions: In short, offering better wages and benefits is a strategy geared toward attracting a higher level of candidates. Additionally, better working conditions have a psychological benefit to employees as morale improves and overall job satisfaction becomes more positive.

Nursing home residents can suffer injuries from falls, improper restraints, physical harm, transportation mistakes or medication errors. If your loved one was injured, it’s time to discuss your situation with an attorney experienced in nursing home negligence cases.