A new report from the National Consumer Voice for Long Term Care has found severe declines in the quality of care in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using publicly available, self-reported nursing home data, Consumer Voice found alarming increases in the percentage of residents with pressure sores, significant weight loss, and feelings of depression and hopelessness. The percentage of residents receiving antipsychotic drugs increased to their highest levels in nearly a decade, many of which may have been “justified” by phony schizophrenia diagnoses, which also suspiciously rose during the pandemic.
Consumer Voice concluded these deteriorating conditions in nursing homes were caused by the one-two punch of staffing shortages and the abrupt suspension of support and oversight in March, 2020 when family visitation was shut down and regular government inspections and Ombudsman visits were stopped. The combination of inadequate staffing and termination of outside support and oversight proved dangerous and deadly. The report ends on a hopeful note, citing the recent commitment from the Biden administration to a national minimum staffing standard which will likely come with more investment in training and wages for frontline staff.