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When It Comes to Nursing Home Abuse, State & Federal Governments Have Overlooked the Importance (And Lack) Of Social Workers

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As more and more nursing home abuse is covered in news headlines, a lot of the reports on the issues in these homes often focus on the facilities being short-staffed and/or not having enough nurses on staff. However, one recent article discusses how one of the most important oversights that contribute to problems in these homes actually has to do with how few of them have social workers on staff. One of the main roles that social workers play is to provide “front-line protection” against physical and emotional abuse and neglect, and this is arguably one reason why nursing home abuse and neglect is such a large problem, especially in states such as Florida, which has the highest number of facilities and residents in the country.

What Social Workers Do in These Facilities?

Not only do the residents rely on social workers to help them navigate decision-making and health needs, but social workers tend to provide assistance to residents’ families, as well as interventions to help residents cope with certain health issues. such as dementia. As the federal government and the states focus on nurses, a huge aspect of quality of life has to do activities and social services.

In fact, a number of people who end up in nursing homes are simply short-stay residents who are there for rehab and who will eventually go back home. As a result, social workers are important for that transition, as these individuals are often transitioning from hospital to nursing home, and then from nursing home to back to their personal residence. Specifically, social workers are in charge of ensuring that the home provides a safe environment and includes any equipment that might be needed. Perhaps most importantly, well trained social workers can be very strong advocates for the well-being and protection of residents, especially when it comes to emotional and or physical abuse or neglect.

The Regulations Do Not Require Qualified Individuals

According to a recent study, less than 70 percent of nursing homes have at least one qualified social worker working full-time in the facility (where “qualified” denotes an individual with a bachelor’s degree in a related field and at least one year of social work experience in a similar setting). According to the research, smaller facilities are less likely to have access to a social worker at all; even on a part-time basis. This problem may have something to do with the regulations, which only require nursing homes that have more than 120 beds to have one full-time social worker, and they do not have any degree requirements. In addition, states like Florida do not bother to meet the professional standards set by the National Association of Social Workers, and this can leave homes with social workers who are not necessarily properly trained in the field.

Contact Our Jacksonville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers If You Have Questions

There are a number of ways you can help ensure that your loved one is in a home that is not placing their safety in jeopardy. We are here if you have any concerns – contact our Jacksonville nursing home abuse attorneys at Douglas & Carter, Attorneys at Law today for a free consultation.

Resources:

forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2019/07/26/despite-their-importance-many-nursing-homes-lack-social-workers/#19733e412e5e

/miamiohoars.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/bowblis-roberts-social-services/

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