I have worked in healthcare a big part of my life. During my time working as a health professional I have seen many things that I hoped would one day change for the better. The biggest issue I have seen is our care of the elderly population. Nursing facilities in most states do NOT have any set guidelines for patient to staff ratios. Because of this, a major concern for our elderly is falls and injuries resulting from these falls. A staggering number of 1,800 people die each year as the result of a fall in a nursing home. The survivors of these falls often, as a result, are left with some sort of disability which leads to decreased quality of life, depression and many other ailments for the affected person. According to the National Council on Aging here are the statistics:
• One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
• Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
• Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
• Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
• In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
• The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020!!
These numbers are horrific! According to Genworth's Cost of Care Survey, on average in the United States, a private room in a nursing home costs $8,365 per month, or $275 a day. For a semi-private room, the average cost of a nursing home is $7,441 per month, or $245 a day! The workers are over worked and under paid in these places which puts stress on the entire environment. The pay is generally not competitive with other industries, leaving many of these facilities short staffed around the clock.
There need to be state mandated guidelines set for ratios and the pay of staff working these facilities needs to be more competitive with other industries in order to attempt a solution to this problem. Bringing that type of money in per resident, there is absolutely no excuse for pay being what it is. Please join me in my quest for state guidelines for a better minimum of staff and a better pay for the workers. It's the only way to stop the negligence of our elders who have worked their entire lives and raised the generations here now!! Basic human rights of the elderly deserves attention to the issue at hand!!! Something needs to be done NOW! The future of our family members and their quality of life deserves nothing less than better standards!!