Nurses are on the front lines of providing care to residents in nursing homes and are often the ones who see firsthand the problems that can occur in these facilities.
Despite the challenges, there are ways to improve nursing homes. However, nursing facilities face significant problems that require systemic solutions.
Unfortunately, nursing homes have been understaffed for years. This is due to various factors, including low wages, high turnover, and difficulty attracting new nurses.
This problem has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to an increased demand for nursing care. Many nursing homes have been forced to rely on agency staff to fill the gaps.
Let’s explore some of the ways to improve nursing homes:
Improve working conditions for nurses
Working conditions are a major factor in attracting and retaining nurses. Poor working conditions are one of the main reasons why nurses leave nursing homes.
Nurses in nursing homes often work long hours, with shifts that can last up to 12 hours. They also frequently work weekends and holidays. This can lead to burnout and compassion fatigue.
However, several instances of burnout have been linked to poor patient care. But to improve nursing home care, it is essential to address the issue of nurse burnout. Unfortunately, the victims in many cases are the patients and families who trust us with their care. Often abuse and neglect cases in the news directly result from nurse burnout.
Guardians can take such cases to the state attorney general’s office or file a civil suit. If you or a loved one has been a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you should speak to a lawyer to explore your legal options.
Try looking for a nursing home abuse law firm to help you with your case. Professionals can help you seek justice and compensation for your injuries.
Increase staffing levels
As we mentioned before, nursing homes have been understaffed for years. This has led to nurses being overworked and stressed.
To address this problem, nursing homes need to increase staffing levels. This will require hiring more nurses and support staff.
Despite the additional cost, this is essential to improve the quality of care in nursing homes. With more staff, nurses can provide better care to residents. They will also have more time to document care and follow up with families.
However, it is essential to note that simply increasing the number of staff members is not enough. The quality of care also depends on the training and experience of the staff.
Improve nurse training
Nurses in nursing homes need to be properly trained to provide quality care. They should receive training on resident rights, infection control, and medication administration.
Nurses should also be trained to deal with complex behaviors. Many residents in nursing homes have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. These residents can become agitated and aggressive.
Without proper training, nurses may not know how to deal with these behaviors. This can lead to resident abuse or neglect. Improving nurse training is essential to prevent these problems.
One of the best ways to improve nursing homes is to increase transparency. Families should be able to access information about the care their loved ones are receiving.
Nursing homes should make residents’ medical records available to their families. They should also have a policy of promptly informing families about resident conditions changes.
In addition, nursing homes should allow families to visit their loved ones without restrictions. Visitation is vital for the mental and emotional well-being of residents. It also allows families to check on the care their loved ones are receiving.
Moreover, nursing homes should provide families with a way to give feedback about the care their loved ones are receiving. Families should be able to contact the nursing home administration to voice their concerns.
Improve the physical environment
The physical environment of nursing homes can also impact residents’ quality of care. A nursing home that is dirty or in disrepair can be a breeding ground for infection.
Moreover, a poorly designed nursing home can be unsafe for residents. For example, residents may fall and injure themselves if there are no handrails in the hallways.
To improve the physical environment of nursing homes, facilities should be regularly cleaned and well-maintained. In addition, nursing homes should be designed with residents’ safety in mind.
However, it is important to note that physical improvements alone are insufficient. Nursing homes also need to improve the quality of care they provide.
Implement policies to prevent abuse and neglect
Nursing homes should have policies in place to prevent abuse and neglect. These policies should spell out the consequences for staff members who engage in these activities.
In addition, nursing homes should have procedures for reporting abuse and neglect. These procedures should be simple and easy to follow.
Besides, nursing homes should conduct background checks on all staff members. This will help ensure that only qualified individuals work in the facility.
Improve communication between staff and residents’ families
Another way to improve nursing homes is communication between staff and residents’ families. Families should be kept up-to-date on their loved one’s care.
Nursing homes should have a procedure for promptly informing families about changes in residents’ conditions. They should also make sure that families understand the care for their loved ones.
Improve staff morale
Improving staff morale is another way to improve nursing homes. High staff turnover can lead to a decline in the quality of care.
Nursing homes should provide employees with a positive work environment to improve staff morale. They should also offer competitive salaries and benefits.
In addition, nursing homes should invest in employee training and development. This will help ensure that staff members are up-to-date on the latest care techniques.
There are many ways to improve nursing homes. However, it is important to note that these improvements will not happen overnight. It will take time and effort to make lasting changes.
Nonetheless, by implementing some of the suggestions listed above, nursing homes can slowly improve their quality of care. This, in turn, will benefit the residents who live in these facilities.