How the elderly are being affected due to hospital bed shortages

“The biggest population is aging now and so it affects every one of us and we need to find some real solutions.” That is what Minnesota State Representative Natalie Zeleznikar said concerning the recent shortage of bed space in hospitals and how it has trickled down to the elderly in nursing homes.

“The hospital’s in a dilemma because they’re keeping them, they’re in the highest cost center. We have open beds in many communities in northern Minnesota, but also across the state, but facilities are deciding to not take the admission because if the care plan says you need one person to help you or two people to help you at various times of the day and they don’t have staff, they would be in violation,” says Zeleznikar.

Zeleznikar was a nursing home administrative for thirty years, her description of this dilemma happening: devastating.

“It’s worse than during COVID, and so right now, we have to get the health care workers back to a facility. When you’re continually overstressed and overworked for two or three years what has happened is we’ve pushed those people into manufacturing jobs, retail jobs, other jobs, and they haven’t come back,” continues Zeleznikar.

And how she plans to solve this issue: intergenerational programming.

“I think intergenerational programing is key, I think we have opportunities to have creativity with the colleges and have it support 24 hour operations in a much better way than we’ve done and have regulatory compliance near those programs. I think whether it’s working with the school districts, or working with secondary and post-secondary education, what is important is for us to get children interacting with elderly to see a pathway for volunteering. Through all the different types of programs, bringing children in there to do things with the seniors can make a difference,” finishes Zeleznikar.

We will keep you updated on this story. To read about the bed shortage in the healthcare system, click here: