June 15 was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. While elder abuse can occur in any setting, it is all too common in long-term care facilities. For the fourth quarter of 2020, Kentucky nursing homes were ranked 38th in the county by the Long-Term Care Community Coalition for overall patient care. Patient care is largely affected by staffing levels at the facility. Kentucky, like many states, has no minimum staffing level requirement for nursing homes.
A 2001 federal study found that 4.10 hours of total care in hours per resident per day were needed to receive adequate care, with .75 RN hours per resident per day needed. Nationally for the fourth quarter of 2020, the average was only 3.47 hours total care hours per resident per day, and only .47 RN hours per resident per day. Kentucky averaged less, with 3.34 and .45 hours per resident per day, respectively. There is certainly a correlation between direct patient care time and patient outcomes. Unfortunately, all too often staff are trying to take care of too many patients at once and cannot provide adequate care, resulting in falls, broken bones, bedsores, infections, and even death.