Under the best of circumstances, it can be difficult to select a good nursing home or care facility for your loved ones. Trusting such institutions to help our loved ones and family members following hospitalizations or for long-term care is a stressful and complicated process. That decision can be even more nerve-wracking when widespread practices of elder abuse, medication errors, and financial abuse are uncovered. When nursing homes and care facilities fail to meet the basic requirements of care for residents, they must be held accountable.
To address this issue, President Biden recently announced a new proposed minimum staffing requirement for nursing homes. Under the administration’s proposal, every taxpayer-funded nursing home would be required to meet minimum staffing requirements to prevent gaps in care. The proposed standards call for every qualified nursing facility to provide a registered nurse on site 24/7 and for every nurse and nurse aide to provide routine bedside care, among other tasks. The proposal stated that research shows that increasing staffing levels saves lives and provides residents with a higher quality of life, preventing needless suffering. The proposal further highlights that despite nursing homes receiving nearly $100 billion annually from American taxpayers, they are too often understaffed, resulting in illness and death for patients. Implementing such changes will bolster current staff members who are struggling to meet the demands of an increasingly large nursing home resident population.
During the pandemic, shortages and insufficient levels of staffing were exposed, and over 200,000 nursing home residents and workers passed away from COVID-19. In recent years, private equity firms have been purchasing nursing homes and cutting key staff in order to increase profits, endangering the safety of nursing home residents in the process.