Broken Nursing Home System Needs Full Overhaul Says Major Report

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on April 28, 2022 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on April 24, 2024

fixing america's broken nursing home systemAccording to the findings in a major report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, America’s nursing home system needs a complete overhaul.

It is no secret that U.S. nursing homes have a long history of substandard care and staffing shortages. The finances at long-term care facilities are too secretive, and many regulatory violations remain unenforced. However, nothing made the failures more visible than the onset of COVID-19.

PKSD shares more about this report and what is needed to overhaul America’s failed nursing home system. Our trusted team of nursing home lawyers in Wisconsin is ready to help if your loved one has suffered negligence in his or her nursing home.

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Why Was the Report Written Now?

America’s vulnerable elderly deserve to receive quality care and be treated with dignity. Yet they continue to suffer because of the ongoing and widespread issues of substandard care in today’s nursing homes. Many families who have faced the difficult decision of placing a loved one in a care home have seen these problems firsthand.

Now, the sobering number of resident COVID-19 deaths – more than 150,000 – has captured the attention of the public more than ever before.

What Does This Major Report Say About U.S. Nursing Homes?

According to the AP News article, this report covers a vast range of problems in today’s nursing homes. Many of the widespread failures discussed are not new. However, the authors believe their report could be an impetus to address the many issues that have gotten little more than a head nod over the years.

The underlying problems have a lot to do with how nursing homes are managed, financed, regulated and delivered. From not meeting even minimal staffing requirements to low pay, poor training and lack of oversight, it is no wonder the system is broken. Sadly, it is the residents who suffer from these substandard levels of care, resulting in:

  • Medication errors – sometimes fatal
  • Sitting for hours or longer in soiled sheets or clothing
  • Choking because no staff are available to assist with eating
  • Not getting proper help with daily hygiene tasks
  • Residents wandering out of the home and off the property
  • Bedsores from not being turned properly
  • Slow responses to calls
  • Improper placement of feeding tubes
  • And more

Betty Ferrell, nurse and report committee chairperson says, “The public is so concerned about the quality of care that most people really fear their family having to be in a nursing home. We’re very optimistic that our government officials will respond to what has really been a travesty.”

What the Report Concluded

Transforming the nursing home system is necessary in order to improve quality of care for all nursing home residents.  According to Covering Health, the 605-page report identifies seven major areas that need reform. From the overall blueprint, the report concluded that:

  • Immediate action is necessary to initiate fundamental reform.
  • Stakeholders need to make a strong and clear commitment to improving the care of residents.
  • Newly implemented initiatives must not worsen already existing disparities, such as resource allocation, racial/ethnic inequalities, quality of care or resident outcomes.
  • Nursing home care, as currently regulated, financed and delivered, is inefficient, fragmented and unsustainable.
  • The substandard care residents currently receive is the result of caregivers who are poorly trained, underpaid and underappreciated.
  • High-quality research must happen to advance and improve the quality of care in nursing homes.
  • The lack of transparency of nursing home finances, daily operations and ownership must be addressed.
  • Authority and resources must be granted to relevant federal agencies to enable the implementation of this report’s recommendations.

The full report is 605 pages long and available to read or purchase online.

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