Unveiling the Top 5 Health and Safety Risks Facing Nursing Home Residents

The growing number of people needing long-term health care also means a bigger spotlight on quality. There are health and safety issues lurking in nursing homes and other facilities. Every family should be aware of the quality of care, either at home or in a facility.

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Unveiling the Top 5 Health and Safety Risks Facing Nursing Home Residents
6 Min Read June 6th, 2023

The need for long-term health care is escalating as the aging population continues to rise. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by 2030, one in every five Americans will be at retirement age. This demographic shift heralds an increased demand for all types of long-term health care, including nursing home care. The surge in the number of older adults, many of whom will require long-term care, underscores the urgency of improving safety standards in nursing homes and enhancing the overall quality of care.

Patients in nursing homes across America confront safety issues daily. Regrettably, the safety standards in these facilities are not as robust as they once were. Consequently, nursing home residents, and their families, must remain cognizant of the health and safety risks they face regularly. Five concerns are especially prominent for nursing home patients across America:

1. Abusive Behind-the-Scenes Behavior

The unfortunate reality is that one-in-ten nursing home patients will face some form of abuse during their stay in a nursing home (whether it's abuse by staff members or fellow nursing home patients). These numbers are downright terrifying, especially for the family members of those living in America's nursing homes. 

Whether it's physical abuse, financial abuse, or mental abuse, this unacceptable behavior upends the lives of many elderly Americans in the care of nursing homes every single year. In the worst cases, it can even end their lives. For this reason, nursing home patients must have family members or legal advocates watching out for them, as this can help curb abuse. Nursing home abuse lawyers are instrumental in helping to protect nursing home patients across America. 

2. Unsanitary Living Conditions

When admitting a loved one into a nursing home, one anticipates a clean, sterile, and secure environment. With numerous hazards arising from inadequate sanitary conditions, cleanliness remains a paramount concern for residents. If a nursing home environment appears unsanitary or poorly maintained, it's advised to promptly address the issue with the facility's director.

Furthermore, it would be prudent to inform local health authorities and, if available, consult with a lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse. Such actions would ensure the facility prioritizes its cleanliness and safety standards. Doing so would enhance the comfort and security of all residents and potentially save lives. Unsanitary conditions can rapidly spread diseases and infections, which are particularly harmful to the elderly residents of nursing homes.

3. Medication Mismanagement and Errors

A person residing in a nursing home is most likely prescribed at least one daily medication. Sometimes, a resident may require multiple doses throughout the day, adhering to a precise and regular schedule. 

Medication management represents a critical and potentially life-saving responsibility for nursing home staff, making it one of their most important tasks. Consequently, errors in medication administration should be a rare occurrence in any facility that diligently carries out its duties.

If a loved one suffers harm due to mishandling of medication or related errors, immediate consultation with a lawyer specializing in nursing home cases is advisable to explore possible courses of action. The situation might even warrant filing a medical malpractice claim against the facility or the individual staff members responsible for the medication errors. 

Awareness of your rights in these situations is crucial for holding nursing homes accountable for negligent behavior.

4. Lack of Accessible Around-the-Clock Care

Continuous care is an essential component of nursing home services. Medical emergencies do not abide by business hours, and elderly patients often require faster care compared to their younger counterparts. 

To ensure patient safety, comfort, and satisfaction, round-the-clock care should be readily available and administered in a direct, compassionate manner. Facilities understaffed or lacking appropriate resources might be tempted to compromise on this 24/7 care availability, which can lead to disastrous, even fatal, outcomes.

Any nursing home found responsible for such negligence must be held fully accountable. Without enforcing accountability for these lapses, more nursing home administrators may feel they can get away with measures that put patients at risk, causing undue suffering or even costing them their lives.

5. Slip-and-Fall Accidents (and Hazards)

Slip-and-fall incidents represent a significant concern for both nursing homes and their residents. Due to their fragile health, elderly patients are far more susceptible to severe, life-altering injuries or even fatalities from these accidents. Consequently, nursing homes have an obligation to maintain an environment devoid of such hazards. Safety measures must be installed and diligently maintained to safeguard patients, including guardrails, slip-resistant bathrooms, and others.

Failure to adhere to these safety protocols could lead to nursing homes facing legal liability for residents' slip-and-fall incidents. Regrettably, these accidents remain among the most common occurrences in nursing homes across the United States each year.

Secure Quality Care for Aging Parents

As the population ages, an increasing number of adults are burdened with the task of ensuring quality care for their aging parents. Navigating the complexities of long-term care often comes with significant stress, both emotional and financial, as they grapple with the necessity of making critical decisions that directly impact their parent's health and quality of life.

A recent survey conducted by AARP found that nearly 60% of adult children caring for their parents described the situation as "emotionally stressful," while around 45% characterized it as "financially stressful." 

Adult children are often caught in a bind, struggling to reconcile the need for high-quality care with the reality of its hefty price tag. This can lead to sacrificing personal savings or forgoing their financial commitments to ensure their parents receive the necessary care.

The lack of planning exacerbates this predicament. The survey noted that few families have taken proactive steps to plan for long-term care costs. As a result, many adult children find themselves in crisis mode, making decisions under duress. This ad-hoc approach drains financial resources and can lead to burnout, straining familial relationships, and negatively impacting the caregiver's mental health.

Plan for Your Aging Now

However, financial planners and elder care experts are urging families to consider an often-overlooked tool: Long-Term Care Insurance. Adding this coverage before retirement can alleviate the burden on adult children and safeguard a retiree's savings while ensuring access to high-quality care.

Long-Term Care Insurance provides a pool of funds that can be used for a variety of care services, including in-home care. This allows the aging individual to remain in familiar surroundings while receiving necessary medical attention. 

LTC Insurance can significantly ease financial stress with the cost of in-home care, assisted living, and nursing homes rising.

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Long-Term Care Insurance policies can be more affordable when purchased well before retirement. This protects savings from being depleted by care costs and reduces the emotional and financial stress on adult children. The policy can also be customized to the individual's needs, providing flexibility and choice in the type of care received.

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About the Author

Patricia Lee is a writer with several years of experience working with non-profit organizations. She has extensive knowledge in many areas, including Education, Computer Science, and Psychology.

LTC News Contributor Patricia Lee

Patricia Lee

Contributor since April 17th, 2023

Editor's Note

Long-term care planning is an integral part of a comprehensive retirement plan due to the likelihood of needing some form of assistance in later years. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about half of individuals over 65 will eventually require long-term care services.

Planning for this inevitability safeguards your financial stability, ensuring that care costs don't deplete your retirement savings. Furthermore, it alleviates the burden on loved ones who may otherwise have to shoulder the responsibility.

LTC Insurance also empowers you with choices for your future care, such as staying in your home or selecting a preferred facility, thereby providing control and peace of mind in your golden years.

Most people get coverage in their 40s or 50s.

LTC Insurance Specialists Help

Underwriting standards and premiums can vary dramatically between insurance companies for the same coverage. LTC Insurance can be very affordable, but seek a professional when getting recommendations and accurate quotes.

The specialist will make it easy; usually, they can do this on the phone and computer. A specialist will ask you many detailed questions about your health history, family history, and retirement plans. At that point, they will match you based on age and health with the right insurance company to show you the best coverage at the best value.

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There is no other place on the internet where you will see comprehensive and accurate information on long-term health care, aging, caregiving, health, retirement planning, and Long-Term Care Insurance.

These resources are vital to review:

Seeking Assistance for Your Aging Parents?

It might be too late for your older parents to purchase Long-Term Care Insurance. A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will tell you, depending on their age and health, if options are available. 

Otherwise, your parents deserve quality care, and adult children and their spouses will not have the skills or the time to provide that care. Finding quality care can be difficult.

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. 

Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

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