Not surprisingly given the increasing life expectancy, and should the trend continue, the number of people over age 85 living in the United States will increase by more than 100 percent by 2050. Right now, people in this age group make up a little under 2 percent of the country’s population, but they are expected to constitute 4.5 percent of the population in 2050. With society become less and less integrated around the broader family unit, this means more elderly people in New Mexico and nationwide are going to have to turn to professionals for medical and personal care when they get too old to attend to these needs themselves.
These statistics point to the ongoing problem in the health care industry with a shortage of quality health care professionals, nurses, aides and the like, who can attend to the needs of the elderly with compassion and attentiveness. In the world of home health care, estimates are that the economy will need another 1 million home health professionals by 2026. This is number is 50 percent higher than where it was a few short years ago, in 2014.
It is not much of a leap to suggest that this shortage of workers will affect nursing home staff as well. In fact, staffing is already a problem in many parts of the nation, including in some New Mexico homes. Staffing shortages naturally translate in to medical mistakes, if not outright abuse. When a home is short of staff, it’s just a reality that some things are going to get overlooked and some corners are going to get cut. Moreover, low staff morale also means that the tempers and frustration of individual staff members can flare.
A nursing home has the responsibility to supply enough staff so as to meet all of the patients’ needs. When a nursing home fails in this responsibility, and a resident suffers damages as a result, the resident or the family of the resident may want to consider a nursing home neglect claim.