With more and more Baby Boomers entering retirement, extended care planning and retirement planning have become very hot topics. Individuals are living longer than ever, and the question as to just how they can pay for that extended lifespan is being put forth. The new budget suggested by the Ohio House addresses this question and may offer a tentative solution.
Brandon Blackwell reports on the budget in his article “Ohio House Budget Bill Would Restrict Sex Ed, Bolster Nursing Home Funds.” In summary, the two-year state budget would put new restrictions on sex education in schools as well as give a $30 million per year boost to existing nursing home funds.
The proposed increase to nursing home funding is not “free” money. Not every nursing home would get a cut of it. Instead, it would be used as an incentive to improve the quality of care nursing homes offer.1 The specifics behind this incentive were not provided in Blackwell’s article. At this time, it is unknown what the guidelines are and who will be evaluating nursing homes to determine if they should receive any of the funds—and if so, how much.
However, higher quality nursing care is a necessity. An Atlanta Legal Aid study of 2,000 nursing home residents revealed that 44% reported being abused and 95% reported either witnessing or experiencing neglect.2 Those numbers are truly shocking and need to be addressed. Abuse and neglect range from the use of restraints to keep patients in wheelchairs or beds to the misuse of feeding tubes. Medication abuse is also prevalent, with 30% of nursing home residents receiving some type of antipsychotic drug and one-third of those individuals not needing the drug.2
Even if the $30 million incentive fund goes into effect, it will still be up to the friends and family members of nursing home residents to be vigilant for signs of neglect and abuse. To start with, it is important to carefully and thoroughly evaluate a facility before moving in a loved one. Ask for recommendations from individuals you trust, scour the Internet for reviews, and visit the facility multiple times. Once a loved one has moved in, don’t just consider the matter resolved. It is important to stay updated on the latest happenings at the facility. Do Internet searches for any news, talk to the staff when you visit, and be observant when visiting.