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Exploring the Struggles of Nursing Home Residents

by Samreen Sheikh

Nursing homes were established as a haven for elderly individuals who require assistance with medical care as well as basic daily living activities like eating, bathing, and getting dressed. While they do help to provide these essential services, nursing homes have their fair share of issues that can directly impact the well-being of elderly residents.


Sure, resources like lawyers for bedsores, abuse, or other forms of neglect are readily available for the victims of these issues and their families, but these problems need to be addressed to enhance the experience of nursing home residents, especially as the population ages and the demand for long-term care facilities increases.

MEDICAL CARE ISSUES

Medical care issues are among the most prevalent nursing home issues. They might appear to be the most frequent problems due to how easy they are to spot, since they lead can lead to serious health issues for residents, and even death in some severe cases. These are some of the most common medical care issues that nursing home residents might deal with:


Bed Sores

Pressure ulcers–or bed sores–are a serious problem that many senior citizens in assisted living facilities deal with. This is an issue that stems from neglect. If senior citizens spend too much time sitting or lying in one position, they run the risk of getting ulcers on their skin from prolonged pressure.


This is why it’s so important that nursing home caregivers are proactive in preventing these injuries by keeping elderly residents regularly on the move. It’s also important that, if a senior citizen does end up with bed sores, they are treated properly with regular cleaning and reducing pressure by frequently changing their positions.


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Medication and Treatment Errors

The guarantee of proper care and treatment handled by experienced professionals is one of the top-selling points of assisted living facilities, but unfortunately, the quality of care in these types of facilities tends to be lacking. Proper treatment is neglected when nursing home caregivers forget to dress senior citizens in clothing that protects their health—like compression socks or non-slip shoes—fail to keep them active and engaged, or administer medications at the wrong frequency or in the incorrect dosage. All of these can lead to serious mental and physical health issues for nursing home residents.


Sepsis

While it’s terrible for nursing home residents to end up with injuries like bedsores or infections like UTIs and pneumonia, what’s even worse is when these conditions go untreated. If this is the case, these infections could worsen and send the body into shock, becoming life-threatening.


Nursing home staff members must recognize the early signs of sepsis, like fever, high heart rate, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and confusion, that way, they can catch sepsis early on and get residents the necessary antibiotics to help them fight off the infection.


NON-MEDICAL ISSUES

Medical issues in nursing homes tend to be the most detrimental, but they are not necessarily the worst thing that residents will experience. Non-medical issues are much more difficult to spot since they have less evidence. Here are a few of the lesser-known issues that nursing home residents face:


Staffing Issues

With the rapidly growing need for elder care, there is, of course, a growing need for elder caregivers. However, this need is not being met fast enough, so many assisted living facilities are forced to either hire people with little to no experience or to spread their existing employees incredibly thin.


The latter leads to employees feeling overworked and burnt out, making mistakes much more likely. This is, unfortunately, the root of many neglect-caused accidents, like a resident not receiving proper supervision and slipping and falling or choking on their food. Without proper staffing, it’s difficult to ensure that these accidents don’t happen.



Abuse

It’s sad to say that abuse is a pretty prevalent issue in nursing homes. It’s estimated that nearly 98% of senior citizens have either seen or experienced abuse by a caregiver first-hand. With how desperate some of these facilities are to meet staffing requirements, they’ll often end up having to sacrifice quality for quantity and settle for people who might not be the best fit for the job. Because of this, the nursing home residents end up suffering.


To prevent this issue, nursing homes need to do extensive background checks on the people that they hire and encourage residents and their families to report any abuse or neglect that they see.

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