The other week we read a thought-provoking op-ed piece in The Patriot-News of Central PA (PennLive.com) that reminds us what a difficult decision it is when we can no longer care for an elderly loved one and must move them into a nursing home. Even when we’ve done our research and think that we have chosen an appropriate facility, there is still a chance that things won’t turn out alright.
The op-ed piece details the unfortunate circumstances that the writer’s grandfather experienced the last two and a half years of his life that he spent in a nursing home. In one example, a wound on the man’s knee was bandaged, but had become infected and exposed to urine.
According to the article, some of the issues facing that particular facility included the fact that the staff did not have the time or the support to give each patient the time and care they needed; also, the home was perpetually short-staffed, especially on nights and weekends.
In the article, it’s mentioned that according to a recent survey, 81% of caregivers said their nursing home was “sometimes or never adequately staffed.” The article emphasizes that real standards are needed to ensure that caregivers have the tools and support they need to care for patients. Also, real accountability in nursing homes is needed to make sure the tax dollars given to them through Medicaid is used responsibly and appropriately. The op-ed points out two of members of our state senate are introducing legislation that will increase the amounts of hands-on care those in nursing homes receive, increase access to the type of information families need to make good decision when choosing a home for their loved ones, and ensuring that Medicaid funding for resident care is used for that care.
As in this op-ed piece, we encourage you to support this legislation to be sure they are enacted, for the benefit of all our loved ones who are in skilled nursing facilities.