Articles Tagged with understaffing

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nursing home alzheimers

Alzheimer’s Residents More Likely to Wander and Elope

For the estimated 5.5 million Americans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a debilitating memory and mental behavior disease – life is not easy. And as these people with one of the most common types of dementia age, 75 percent of them will be admitted to a nursing home by their 80th birthday and become fully dependent on someone else to care for them. Unfortunately, there are too many times when these residents are ignored, abused or tragically lost in a wandering or elopement incident. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports there are close to 2 million cases of elder abuse incidences each year for dementia residents living in community settings such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Most long-term care ombudsman will say the true incident rates are likely to be much higher though since abuse can come in many different ways including neglect.

Wandering and elopement represent some of the many behavioral problems triggered by nursing home neglect occurring in residents with the Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In fact, six out of 10 people with dementia will wander and aimlessly move about within the facility or grounds without regard of their personal safety. For a better understanding of this phenomena, the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) has identified several different reasons for wandering in nursing homes as well as the different types of wandering such as environmentally cued wandering, recreational wandering, agitated purposeful wandering, fantasy and reminiscent wandering, and elopement. Elopement is the most dangerous type of wandering and occurs when a patient attempts to completely leave the nursing home and wander outside. Patients are often seriously hurt or killed during this type of wandering.

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elderly wanderer

Understanding Why Nursing Home Residents Wander

1 in 10 Americans, older than 65, will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia. These individuals will experience a drastic decline in mental abilities that make it difficult to complete daily activities most take for granted such as eating, bathing, socializing, or even the ability to remember their own name or address. A majority of dementia victims will require an intense amount of supervised care and physical assistance to go about these routines. More often than not, families will put their trust in a nursing home center to manage the progressive, non-curable disease that will continue to worsen their loved ones until death. For individuals with who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities with dementia and have no family to check-in or watch out for them, receiving the best care can be difficult due to the staff responsible for the growing number of abuse and neglect cases impacting nursing home residents today.

Wandering represents one of many behavioral problems occurring in people with the dementia. In fact, six out of 10 people with dementia will wander and aimlessly move about within the facility or grounds without regard of their personal safety. For a better understanding of this phenomena, The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) has identified several different reasons for wandering in nursing homes as well as the different types of wandering.

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 nursing home theft

Symphony of Lincoln Park Workers Caught Stealing $600,000 from Resident with Dementia

Levin & Perconti attorneys Steve Levin and Mike Bonamarte have begun work with acting Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert on a local financial exploitation case involving a 97-year-old resident with cognitive and memory disorders who required assistance with her finances and trusted the staff workers at Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park, a senior facility where she had been living since 2010. The Cook County Public Guardian has since been appointed the temporary guardian after receiving news by the Illinois Department of Aging and Adult Protective Services of the financial exploitation allegations and suspicious spending between the resident’s bank account and facility employees. The Department receives more than 8,200 reports of financial exploitation involving nursing home residents each year.

It’s believed the aging resident, who previously led a life at an Arizona based Japanese internment camp during World War II against her will, and then worked hard in a career with the federal government, had earned a life savings of $600,000 which she was using to help care for herself at the Symphony facility. Because of her failing independence and need for mental health support, she required assistance in managing her savings but instead a group of workers took advantage. Today, five Symphony workers have been accused of spending their way through the woman’s personal life savings in a yearlong thieving scheme that included cashing checks, making large ATM withdrawals and accessing her funds without her consent. According to the lawsuit:

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nursing home illness

Last Flu Season Was Deadliest for Nursing Home Residents

During the 2017-2018 flu season, an estimated 80,000 Americans died and 900,000 were hospitalized, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), making last year one of the deadliest our country has even seen with the elderly and very young children affected most severely. A new study from Brown University School of Public Health reports that a more immunogenic vaccine, such as the adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV), can improve clinical outcomes in nursing home patients compared with a non-adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine.

According to the CDC, older adults with weaker immune systems also may have a lower protective immune response after flu vaccination compared to younger, healthier people.

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nursing home neglect

Skilled Care Falls Short While Nursing Home Costs Continue to Rise

While there has been a general slowing of individuals dependent on nursing home care from nearly 86 percent in 2012 to less than 82 percent in 2017, as life expectancy continues to increase in the U.S. and seniors account for a higher proportion of the population, demand for the services provided by nursing facilities will increase and no doubtingly, costs will follow suit. But supported and efficient services have failed to align and it’s our nation’s most vulnerable people and their families, as well as care staff, who pay the real price. So, who is to blame?

Third-party payors and private entities who haphazardly increase the costs of healthcare services without providing quality care of professional and skilled nurses and staff look guilty. Employing staff and pushing up labor costs only leads to widespread budget increases and less fattening of private facility pockets, but shortages can ironically do the same. Meanwhile, nursing home administrators blame behind the market reimbursement rates of patients on ‘traditional” Fee-for-Service (FFS) Medicare patients to Medicare Advantage (MA) patients to cause the industry to suffer and negatively profit, demanding them to raise general daily costs to residents and families or cut short in areas such as infrastructure and staffing quality workers.

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nursing home infections

Painful Infections Remain Untreated When Chicago’s Nursing Homes are Understaffed

The Chicago Tribune recently published a scathing article on the inadequate measures taken by a Chicago nursing home to prevent a resident’s bedsores from turning into deadly infections. The story featured the negligence and wrongful death claims of an 85-year-old resident at Lakeview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on the city’s North Side. Family members of the resident told reporters that the facility’s staff never spoke of the “seriousness of the pressure sore, which led to sepsis, a severe infection that can quickly turn deadly if not cared for properly.”

Complications related to pressure sores often require intravenous antibiotics and sensitive care treatments to treat bloodstream infections and can result in painful surgeries to cut away dead skin around the wound. According to health officials, there are four types of infections that are often linked with sepsis including: lungs (pneumonia), kidney (urinary tract infection), skin (pressure wounds and bedsores) and gut. Out of the 6,000 Illinois nursing home residents who are hospitalized with sepsis each year, 1 in 5 won’t survive.

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nursing home disaster plan

Healthcare Facilities Should Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

Although new Medicare and Medicaid guidelines were set in place after the tragic deaths of over 100 nursing home residents during Hurricane Katrina, cases of patients left behind due to natural disasters such as wildfires, tornadoes, or floods are reported each year. These occurrences are starting to prompt health care officials to raise concern over the need for better public policy support, emergency planning resources, funding, and protections for vulnerable long-term care residents in the event of an emergency prompted by catastrophic events and conditions that threaten their well-being such as no internet and no electricity.

A recent federal review of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) records found that:

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Dangerous Disease Risks Heighten as Nursing Homes Serve More Residents With Less Staffing

It is estimated by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) that nursing home medical staff treat over 2 million resident infections and related diseases each year in the U.S. Because of its nature, care facilities like skilled nursing homes or long-term care settings are places prime for infectious diseases to spread easily since patients share spaces and depend on others for daily hygiene tasks. That care often goes neglected when facilities are understaffed, or care workers are overburdened. With 5.3 million people requiring nursing home or long-term care by 2030, a substantially higher risk of people acquiring more of new infections and serious health complications because of lack of skilled care workers is expected.

Infectious Disease Complications for Nursing Home Residents

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skilled care

Recognizing When Residents May Require Skilled Care vs. Nursing Home Support

When a family is seeking support and viable care options for an elderly loved one, the first step to choosing the right place may be attempting to understand the types of support the long-term care industry offers. Skilled nursing facility (SNF) and a nursing home are terms widely used to describe a residential facility that provides on-site 24-hour care, but the type of care and support may differ depending on staff, managed medical standards, and a confusing overlap of services. In fact, some nursing homes may offer skilled nursing care in a particular wing of the facility but not to every resident, including your loved one. In addition, nursing homes and SNFs may be regulated and certified differently at each facility and the level of staff certification may vary leaving questionable concerns for those in charge of placing a loved one into the hands of a long-term care facility of any type.

Skilled Nursing Facilities Provide Additional Services and Medical Staff

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nursing home neglect

Payroll Records Indicate Nursing Home Staffing Shortages Create Serious Gaps in Patient Care

Only recently did the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) begin collecting and reviewing daily payroll records from more than 14,000 nursing homes. The publishing of the data became required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Kaiser Health News recently analyzed the submissions and caught that most U.S. nursing homes have been operating grossly understaffed and reporting a false review of average employee shifts. Kaiser claims these nursing homes had:

  • Significant fluctuations in day-to-day staffing, with particularly large shortfalls on weekends when personnel cared for nearly twice as many residents as normal.