There are currently about 16,000 nursing homes in Connecticut and across the U.S., and these care for a total of 1.4 million residents. These numbers are certain to rise, though. It is expected that the population of seniors 65 and up will nearly double from 47.8 million to 88 million by the year 2050.
At the same time, more seniors are opting for in-home care. The fastest growing job in this country is that of a home health aide with the last decade seeing its numbers double. What this means for nursing homes is that they will have to focus more on caring for patients with complex medical conditions: conditions that in-home nurses are not capable of addressing. This, in turn, means more long-term residents.
Sadly, many experts believe that the nursing home industry is already rife with problems like sexual, physical and verbal abuse, patient neglect and Medicaid fraud. Nursing homes may fail to create a safe environment, such as by not installing safety railings, and nurses are causing premature deaths through medication errors.
There are several ways that the industry can be improved: for example, more uniform regulations and supervision. In addition, new technology must be incorporated. One day, sensors and robots may have to step in as the number of qualified nurses declines.
There are cases where nursing homes may knowingly hire someone who is under-qualified to be a nurse. This and other forms of nursing home negligence can lead to patient injuries, in which case there may be good grounds for a personal injury claim. The relatives of the injured patient may want to talk with an attorney who focuses on medical malpractice law. If they hire the attorney, he or she may even bring in investigators to strengthen the claim.