In prior postings we discussed the growing movement, including in Illinois, to improve the rights of patient residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. This has ranged from pushes for better legislation, to a bevy of litigation to not only redeem the rights of abused and victimized patients but to also call attention to the devastation caused by negligent or even depraved nursing home staffers. One such initiative in Illinois, for example, has been the push for a nursing home patient bill of rights to enumerate the basic dignities and quality of care all resident patients deserve and to which they are entitled.
In the coming week, on June 24, 2014 at 2:00pm EST, there will be a free webinar/teleconference held by the Consumer Voice. The Consumer Voice, or the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, has been around since 1975 when it began as a group of advocates at a nursing home conference discussing reform to the industry, and grew into a platform and eventually the great organization it is now. The organization advocates for quality care in nursing homes, which throughout the country continues to be below par in so many places. It also seeks to educate consumers and their loved ones about nursing home care and what to expect and what to avoid. The end game is “respect and dignity” for all consumers of long-term care facilities and services.
This webinar/teleconference event is a part of the Nursing Home Staffing Public Awareness Campaign, and is intended to educate anyone, particularly those involved with nursing homes such as staffers, patients, and families of patients, about nursing home policies. Attendees will get to learn about nursing home staffing policies, and what can be done to improve these policies, such as through better staffing (both in volume and quality).
A tremendous threat to the health, safety and well-being of nursing home residents is the significant understaffing that pervades these facilities. There is not necessarily an appreciable shortage of nursing staff nurses and assistants, however, or at least that does not appear to be the case. Rather, many facilities are simply looking to increase their profit margins, and cutting staff means paying out less in salary and benefits while still bringing in ample revenue from patients, insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. Having too many patients and not enough staff pretty much automatically means a significant decrease in attention and care per resident. The campaign seeks to promote not just a general group of ideals and hopes, but actual research that shows the need for higher staffing levels. It has come up with the Staffing Campaign toolkit to help educate everyone in this important area of nursing home reforms.
All of those interested in consumer rights in the area of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, either for themselves or because they have loved ones living in such facilities, should do their utmost to get educated about all issues of concern surrounding nursing homes. Education can lead to better choices in facilities, but ultimately can lead to reforms and efforts that will improve care at all nursing homes nationwide.
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