This might be a good time to check on the last time an inspection was done of that relative’s nursing home. An investigation has found there aren’t enough nursing home inspectors to go around and for the employed inspectors, they leave the job quickly because the pay stinks.
A Senate special committee has found that the 50 state agencies tasked with keeping an eye on conditions at the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes are failing miserably in part because of these labor issues.
Nursing homes are supposed to be inspected at least once a year. The committee’s final report last week found that almost a third of nursing homes “are behind on comprehensive annual inspections, including one in nine that have not received an annual inspection in two years or more.”
“This investigation should serve as a wakeup call as the number of people over the age of 65 is set to hit 80 million by 2040,” wrote Special Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Casey in the report, titled Uninspected and Neglected. “It is past time that we come together to adequately fund long-term care and ensure there is a capable regulatory system to oversee it.”
Aging Solutions couldn’t agree more.
The state inspection agencies are plagued with high turnover rates. They have huge problems finding people willing to do the job at the sub-par pay rates they offer. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have employment vacancy rates of 20 percent or more.
Those state agencies point out that the portion of federal funding for their work has remained about the same for the last ten years while the aging population has mushroomed.
Nursing homes are important in the eldercare system, but they are only one component. There is an enormous amount of myth and misunderstanding about them, and about other senior residential alternatives, such as assisted-living residences and board-and-care homes (in California).
Aging Solutions’ publication Options for Long Term Care explains in detail the choices available to Aging-Parent Families We’ll send you a copy if you email us. That way, we can alert you to new or changing long-term care issues in the future that might affect the decisions you and your family make.