Government survey suggests employees are key to safety

There may well be no magic formula to ensure that patients in Kentucky's nursing homes stay safe. After all, there are unfortunately a lot of ways that patients can get hurt or sickened while in a nursing home, from slips and falls to bedsores to medication errors.

However, if one reads between the lines of a survey circulated by a federal agency charged with brainstorming ways to improve healthcare, it's fairly apparent that a nursing home's culture among employees is a key to ensuring that a nursing home facility stays relatively safe.

For instance, important questions that the survey asks include whether the staff works well together and communicates with each other frequently, especially when it comes to reviewing a patient's overall care and specific needs. On the flip side, another consideration is whether the staff feels that they have enough time and resources to do their jobs deliberately as opposed to having to rush just to get everything done. A culture in which safety concerns get reported and resolved are also significant issues.

The bottom line is that a nursing home with staff and management that work well together is going to be much safer than one which has internal strife and other human resources problems. Many cases of nursing home negligence can be traced back to the fact that an overtaxed employee dropped the ball on a patient's care. Other cases of negligence happen when communication is poor and so important information gets missed.

Whatever the reason it happens, Kentucky residents should take nursing home neglect seriously when it leaves their loved one injured or in a worsened medical condition. In such cases, they may have the right to seek compensation from responsible parties.

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