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They Took Care Of Us, Shouldn't We Take Care Of Them: The Trouble With Nursing Homes

Continuity of care is essential to providing quality health care for patients. Unfortunately for many loved ones in Texas, our state is ranked near the bottom in ensuring stability of health services in nursing homes. According to the AARP, the national median for nursing home staff turnover is 38.1 percent; by contrast, Texas has a dismal annual average of 72 percent. Particularly, low turnover rates are important for nursing home residents who, more than most, need a staff that builds relationships with its patients. In doing so, patients and professionals develop more fulfilling bonds that lead to better overall quality of care, giving patients the feeling of community, and the warmth of home versus constant change and the thought of being alone.

In addition, inadequate staffing of nursing homes has led to deficiencies and poor patient care. As an example, Texas ranked last among all states for administering the least anti-psychotic medications. Shockingly, it has been found that many nursing homes are sacrificing high quality of care for mass distribution of medication because pharmaceutical costs are often reimbursed by Medicaid-health insurance for the poorest residents in the state. This, on top of high turnover rates, is leaving nursing home patients without experienced staff and vulnerable to a continuous influx of unneeded medication.

Sadly, these are not the only problems within our nursing homes. Recently, Texas, in comparison to the other 49 states, was ranked 39th for the percentage of nursing home residents with bed sores-bed sores are developed as a result of a patient's skin suffocating underneath the weight of his body. To prevent bed sores, health care professionals must ensure that immobile patients receive their vitamins daily and, most importantly, are moved often to release pressure on the skin, joints, and muscles. Overall, being devoted to the needs of the patients will reduce the occurrence of this condition and similar manifestations.

In Texas, there are over 58,000 people who receive services from Medicaid-funded facilities. However, a number of those facilities are providing inadequate services to many friends and family members across the state. Obviously, there are some facilities that are committed to ensuring high quality of care; however, that number seems to be few at a time when our need is great.

If you feel that you or your loved one is not receiving adequate care that enhances his or her quality of life, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-396-3964 or 1-800-594-4884.

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