Nursing homes are one of the fastest-growing sectors of the healthcare industry due to the fact that people are living longer. The Census Bureau reports that in less than 40 years from now there will be 70 million people over the age of 65. With a quickly aging population, there will be plenty of jobs for nurses and nursing assistants, which likely means this will include an even greater need for workers compensation insurance for nursing homes.
With many hospitals discharging patients or shortening their hospital stay, due in part to changes in medical procedures, but also a lack of finances plays a role, as does less availability of beds. In addition, Medicare limits the number of hospital days that it pays for as well, so nursing homes become a necessary option.
Long hours could result in more workers comp claims
With many hospital patients too sick to go home or unable to afford a long stay in a hospital, nursing homes for many elderly people is a viable solution. Some nursing home industry studies estimate that 10 to 20 percent of hospital patients requiring special care are moved out of hospitals and into nursing homes. There, they can be provided with much of the care found in hospitals, but often at a lower cost.
With many sub-acute patients entering nursing homes this will result in changes in the amount of work being performed by nursing assistants in these homes. This can result in long hours for staff members and will likely add contribute to exhaustion and additional strain to the backs of staff members whose primary job is lifting patients in and out of beds.
Nursing assistants do the majority of the lifting, transferring, and other heavy work associated with working in a nursing home. One out of every four injuries is due to back sprains and strains. Back and shoulder injuries are responsible for more than half of all injuries among nursing assistants. The number of back injuries has increased among nursing assistants over the last decade or so.
In addition, high staff turnover has often been a problem for the nursing home industry. Many nursing assistants may resign even before their first year is up, and when turnover is high, patient care can be dramatically affected. This can result in fewer experienced and well-trained staff members, which in turn means more injuries and workers compensation claims, so the solution can be found in having adequate insurance for nursing homes to address this issue.