A recent editorial from Erin Ninehouser expressed serious concerns about the pay and lack of benefits given to nursing home caretakers. The nursing home industry made a reported $500 million profit in 2011, yet the homes refuse to pay their workers enough so that they can enjoy a decent standard of living. Nursing homes are prone to being short-staffed in general, and on nights and weekends they work with a skeleton crew. Many of the workers are underpaid and overworked, resulting in a bad combination for your loved ones. Because of this, many states, including Pennsylvania are implementing legislation to increase the amount of hands-on care loved ones get, increase access to information for families, and ensure that Medicaid funding goes toward resident care.
The quality of care in Pennsylvania suffers because of the poor practices of the nursing home industry, and you suffer because your loved ones reside in a home that doesn’t meet the standard of care that it should. In addition to not properly caring for your loved ones, you may now have to pay the price for that shoddy care. In a recent ruling, Pennsylvania upheld a filial support law where a man had to pay his mother’s $93,000 nursing home bill even though he had not taken any of her money for himself. See The Mercury article here. Alternative methods of payment were not explored, leaving the man holding an almost one hundred thousand dollar bill. One patient’s bill totaled nearly one hundred thousand dollars, yet 81% of caregivers said their nursing homes were sometimes or never adequately staffed. They say that to find the truth you must follow the money. In the case of nursing homes, the money isn’t being paid to the workers, so where is it going?