Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Elders suffer from poor nursing-home staffing in Kentucky

"Dental neglect at nursing home; poor staffing a problem across state"
oral care in most nursing homes in Kentucky is atrocious, and this kind of abuse and neglect is still another example of how the nursing home industry refuses to hire enough caregivers to take care of their residents.
Why is this? What's going on here where the most vulnerable of our population, our poor elderly citizens, are being mistreated day in and day out?
The answer is one word: greed.
Many of these nursing homes are owned by big corporations, many run by fat cats on Wall Street or far away from the nursing facility, where the only important report to hit their desks is the profit-and-loss statement.
Advocates for nursing home reform have been telling government leaders this for years. In Kentucky, however, no one seems to listen, or lawmakers who could help are persuaded by generous donations to their re-election campaigns not to act.
It's also a shame that the sometimes total disrespect of the elderly in these facilities by the bosses and big corporate owners reflects on the many nursing home workers who go all out to try to help
Long hours and hard work are big problems for anyone brave enough to sign on to be a nursing home caregiver.
So something's got to be done. But how?
We know we need minimum staffing standards for nursing homes in Kentucky. They would help eliminate the abuse and neglect. They would, for example, ensure that there would be sufficient front-line staff to provide oral health care to all the residents of a facility.
What would these state staffing standards look like? They would force the nursing homes to hire the number of people necessary to provide for a ratio of one direct caregiver to every five residents on the day shift, one to 10 in the evening, and one to 15 at night.
Much research has gone into such ratios on whether they will work, and the conclusions are that they provide better nursing-home care.
Read more: suffer consequences of poor nursing-home staffing Op-Ed

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