National Guard Aids Overwhelmed Nursing Home Staff

The National Guard has persevered through countless challenges this past year; Aiding Afghan refugees fleeing Kabul., providing security at American military bases across the Horn of Africa, and standing sentinel in Washington D.C. following the Jan. 6th attack on The Capitol among their many noble undertakings. However, they were not expecting one recent deployment: emptying bedpans, clipping toenails, and feeding residents of Minneapolis-based nursing home, North Ridge Health and Rehab

A Different Kind of Deployment

Over the past two weeks, 30 Guard members have been working as certified nursing assistants at North Ridge, undergoing an intensive training program condensed from initially five weeks to eight 10-hour days before going to work. This is one of the many ways the COVID-exacerbated healthcare crisis has left nursing homes like North Ridge in an overwhelming state of desperation. 

In addition to other long-term care facilities in Minnesota that mainly serve patients on Medicaid, North Ridge is struggling with staffing. From the remarkably low nursing assistant pay to the constant risk of COVID exposure and infection to the scarring experiences of witnessing sufferers die with their families forbidden, the health centers can do little to retain employees. Though far-disconnected from their usual routine, the National Guard has been their lifeline. 

Chronic Failure to Provide Adequate Care

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, North Ridge wasn’t just struggling to provide adequate care only when COVID struck. In 2018, after a private investigation, it was found that a resident suffered wounds on their left abdomen, groin, and right calf due to the neglect of a staffer. Additionally, it was reported that the resident had not received proper skincare and weekly bathing due to inadequate staffing, resulting in the facility being held responsible for maltreatment due to noncompliance with insufficient staffing.

It is known that nursing home bed and staff shortages were an issue far before the pandemic. However, with the departure of 425,000 employees over the past two years due to the stress of the pandemic, many healthcare facilities are left bracing for the worst. With coronavirus variants flooding hospitals with waves of new cases, short-staffed nursing homes add to the greater healthcare crisis while suffering a significant crisis of their own. The National Guard may not control the overwhelming volume of new admissions, but they have been able to lend a hand to burnt-out caretakers. This includes 18 soldiers who offered to work over the Christmas holiday, granting staffers the ability to spend time with their families. Although The National Guard is making a difference in the healthcare realm in a time of immense need, there is still much work to be done in this profoundly flawed system.

North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys With Integrity

As coronavirus continues to impact our daily lives, it is important to remember its inevitable impact on an already deeply flawed healthcare system. Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities thought to be safe destinations for our elders too often are understaffed, contributing to high turnover rates, staff burnout, and gross negligence. If you are concerned about the treatment your loved one is receiving in a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact a North Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer today at (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form.

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