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Why is nursing home neglect such a serious issue?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2022 | nursing home abuse and neglect

There are thousands of older and medically vulnerable adults living in hundreds of different nursing homes across Georgia. The individual in the nursing home pays thousands of dollars a month to be there, even if they share a room with someone else.

Regardless of whether they pay out of pocket for those costs or receive Medicaid benefits, those residents should have the support they need to be safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, neglect impacts the quality of life for many vulnerable adults in nursing homes.

Residents who dependent on staff care may sit for hours without assistance when they need to go to the bathroom or develop bedsores because they lay in one position for entire days. Why is neglect such a common issue at nursing homes?

The push for profit affects staffing

Nursing homes provide necessary care for older adults, but many of them do that work to make a profit for owners and investors. Roughly 70% of nursing homes are for-profit institutions. The drive to make money on the care provided for older adults means that those corporations have to keep costs low for the services they provide.

Often, the best way to turn a profit at a nursing home is to keep staff costs low. Nursing homes accomplish this by paying very little and keeping as few staff members on hand as legally permissible given the number of residents. Low levels of staff increase the risk of neglect, especially if someone calls in sick from work one day. Low wages also increase the risk of neglect and even abuse, as employees may resent how hard they have to work for so little money.

How can you protect your loved one?

Even a nursing home with an excellent reputation could allow its standard of care to slip. The only way to protect your loved one other than investigating carefully when they move to a nursing home is to make frequent visits to ensure that they are safe and healthy. If the facilities or the people living there seem unkempt, your loved one may be at increased risk of neglect and the health consequences it could carry.

Learning more about contributing factors that influence nursing home neglect can help you be a better advocate for your aging family member.

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