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Recent reports raise concerns about Missouri nursing homes

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2023 | Nursing Home Abuse

There’s no question that there’s a shortage of nurses across the country, and Missouri is certainly no exception. This affects not just hospital patients but residents of nursing homes and other residential care facilities. 

A recent report from the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC) looked at, among other things, the number of hours of care that residents of nursing homes get each day across the county. Missouri came in next to last when compared to other states.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), residents should have at least four hours of individual care per day. The national average is just over 3.6. Missouri nursing home residents, on average, get just three hours. The Biden Administration has committed to setting mandatory minimum staffing requirements to improve care across the country.

Overworked and short-term staff can put residents at risk

Aside from a lack of personal attention, patients also suffer from the increased burden that those nurses and certified nursing assistants who are in a facility have to bear. As an official with one Missouri non-profit advocacy group says, “People that are tired and overworked tend to make more mistakes, they burn out, and that’s really hard for residents.”

Some care facilities have been relying on temp agencies to get needed employees. However, they’re less familiar with the residents and their unique needs and personalities. They don’t tend to form the kinds of bonds with residents that longer-term staff have. 

Lack of inspections is also a problem

Other staffing shortages have also affected the health and safety of those in Missouri’s nursing homes. Another recent report found that these facilities aren’t being inspected as often as required. 

The federal government requires every long-term-care facility to undergo a surprise comprehensive inspection every 15 months, while Missouri requires that each facility be inspected annually. However, a quarter of the state’s nursing homes haven’t had an inspection in at least two years.

There’s no reason to believe that these deficiencies are going to turn around any time soon. In fact, with an increasingly aging population, it may only get worse. That puts an added burden on families to ensure that their loved ones are getting the necessary care and to watch for signs of neglect and abuse. If you believe that your loved one has suffered harm in a care facility, having legal guidance can help you seek justice and compensation.