Every year, the media discusses the problems in long-term care. It is the same story. Abuse. Sexual Assaults. Short-staffed. Financial exploitation. It is tragic and overwhelming after 25 years of representing neglected vulnerable adults as an attorney.
Poor working conditions, low wages, and unsafe staffing levels are the norm. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows 425,000 employees have left the nursing home workforce since February 2020. Staffing shortages have long been a problem for nursing homes in the United States. Low-wage aides retire early due to burn-out or lack of vaccine mandates. Many quit for jobs that are better paid, safer, and less taxing. It is so bad, the National Guard has to step in.
The Wall Street Journal had a remarkable story on elder abuse, specifically financial exploitation. Older Americans are falling victim to fraud, physical violence and neglect as family isolation and staffing shortages erode safeguards in the nursing home industry.
The Washington Post reported on short-staffing and affect on hospitals. Fifty-eight percent of the nation’s 14,000 nursing homes are limiting admissions in the face of staffing shortages. President Biden announced that 1,000 military medical professionals would be dispatched to hospitals across the country this winter to help overwhelmed doctors and nurses.
The New York Times reported the industry is “under scrutiny” because nursing homes are the deadliest places to live during the pandemic.
Every year, we hope and pray for a change. Maybe 2022 will be different. We shall see. Happy New Year!