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Nursing home complaints rise in Wisconsin, staffing is cited

Nursing home residents can be at risk, but so are people living at home with a spouse or adult children.
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Nursing home residents can be at risk, but so are people living at home with a spouse or adult children.

Complaints against Wisconsin nursing homes continue to pile up and could surpass a record number filed last year as the state struggles to find enough nurses and nursing home inspectors.

State officials have contracted with two private companies — Healthcare Management Solutions and Long Term Care Institute, Inc. — to help inspect nursing homes that have complaints against them.

The rise in complaints comes as the nursing home industry continues to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which in some cases has left facilities without enough staff to properly care for residents.

Approximately two out of every five nursing homes in Wisconsin reported a shortage of nurses earlier this month, worse than during the height of the pandemic, according to data submitted by the facilities to the federal government, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Wisconsin has received more than 1,500 complaints against nursing homes so far this year, or about 190 new complaints each month, according to numbers from the state Department of Health Services.

The state last year received an average of 165 per month, for a total of 1,984 complaints.

Like other states, Wisconsin is working to keep up with the rising number of complaints while also dealing with its own staffing shortages and recovering from inspection backlogs caused by the pandemic.

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