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Might low unemployment make for less safe nursing homes?

Here in the U.S., recent times have seen unemployment rates hit their lowest levels in nearly half a century. While this is generally good news for workers, it might not be as good of news for nursing home residents. This is what a recent study suggests.

The study looked at employment data and nursing home data covering the 2001 to 2015 period. The study found that, generally, higher levels of unemployment were associated with higher levels of care quality at nursing homes.

Why might nursing home care be better in times of high unemployment? The study points to one of the drivers of this being that nursing homes can have a harder time attracting and hanging onto workers during better economic times, due to there being more work options out there. According to the study, times of low unemployment are associated with lower staff levels, lower staff retention rates and high staff turnover at nursing homes.

Staffing levels at nursing homes can have big impacts on the care experience and safety of residents. Inadequate staffing is among the things that can lead to care missteps that harm residents. Examples of harmful care missteps at nursing homes include medication errors, lack of proper fall prevention, failure to provide adequate nutrition and hydration and failure to respond properly to bedsores.

What would you like to see nursing homes and lawmakers do to try to ensure that safe staffing levels are maintained at nursing homes through both weak and strong economic conditions?

Given the study’s findings, families of nursing home residents may want to keep a particularly close eye on the care quality their loved ones are receiving in today’s economic climate of low unemployment.

When families spot problems with the care their loved ones have received at nursing homes, they may have many questions on what they can do to address the problems and seek out justice in connection to the harm their loved ones suffered. Skilled personal injuries attorneys can assist families with responding to suspected nursing home negligence.

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