Planning long-term care for an aging loved one is a stressful, anxiety-fueled experience. Unfortunately, worrying has only just begun once the facility has been chosen.
New Hampshire’s well-documented Nursing Home crisis is a microcosm of America’s long-term healthcare problem.
- Aside from regularly seeing the horrors of nursing home neglect in my practice, it has become well documented in the media in recent years. Forgotten medications, ignored calls for help, and failed physician’s orders are commonplace, leading the most vulnerable to injury and even death. Loved ones are cared for by licensed nursing assistants, who receive little mandatory training and are often paid barely minimum wage.2 It is a budget crisis as much as anything, but it’s indisputable that poor training and low pay are leading to your most loved elders facing regular neglect.
- Despite the increasing awareness surrounding the problem, it is reportedly going to get worse before it gets better in New Hampshire. As reported by the Concord Monitor this year, there is already a critically low number of licensed nursing assistants.
- When nursing homes face a shortage of workers, they don’t reduce their number of patients, they reduce their number of staff. As a result, there are more patients for less staff. Eventually, when the numbers and care are bad enough, nursing homes are forced to close, limiting options. Many of these nursing homes receive New Hampshire Medicaid reimbursements, and New Hampshire has not raised their rates in 13 years.
- It’s easy to see why New Hampshire lacks qualified workers caring for their elderly. If New Hampshire wants better care for its most vulnerable, it starts at the top.
The solution for everyday people isn’t simple. Many families simply don’t have the capabilities to care for their aging loved ones and have no choice but to seek a long-term care facility. With the staffing and budgeting crisis in full effect, your loved ones are at risk of injury.
1 Baker, Roberta. “Silver Linings: Complaints at Bedford Hills reflect issues at nursing homes nationally” New Hampshire Union Leader. October 29, 2018. https://www.unionleader.com/news/silver_linings/silver-linings-complaints-at-bedford-hills-reflect-issues-at-nursing/article_60a7558c-dbd2-11e8-9557-c79a83a4655d.html 2 Linville, John. “Long Term Care in NH Continues to be in Crisis” Seacoast Online. May 15, 2019. https://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20190515/long-term-care-in-nh-continues-to-be-in-crisis 3 “Nursing Home Crisis is About to Get Worse” Concord Monitor. August 4, 2019. https://www.concordmonitor.com/Nursing-home-threat-27429524 4 Id.