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Summit County Nursing Homes Improvement Plan Released

Nursing homes often struggle to retain staff, so they should consider partnering with local colleges to train workers, according to recommendations released Thursday by the Summit County Nursing Homes and Facilities Task Force.

The task force has been meeting for a year and released a report to the community with suggestions on how to improve Summit County's long-term care facilities.

Staffing is a critical issue, so training and access to transportation are primary solutions to hiring and retaining skilled workers, said Summit County Council Member Jeff Wilhite during Thursday's meeting.

The committee also recommended that nursing homes should provide technology for residents to access health care visits and visit family.

The task force was created after officials found problematic conditions at five nursing homes throughout Ohio, including one in Summit County, Wilhite said.

 Nursing home operators have been a key part of the discussion, he said.

“I don’t want anyone to get the impression that they’re not interested in being a part of this,” he said. “They’ve been very much at the table.”

May Chen, the co-founder of Asian Services in Action and a member of the nursing homes task force, said an important part of providing quality care is being respectful of other religions, cultures, and language barriers. 

Having strangers care for elders clashes with some cultural expectations, she said.

“If their remaining days have to be spent in a nursing home, they deserve to be cared for in a culturally respectful way," Chen said.

Addressing different dietary needs and hiring people from different cultural backgrounds are ways that nursing homes can better care for people from different cultures, she said.

The recommendations in the report also include improving customer service through training and providing music therapy for residents with memory problems.

The task force will use the recommendations to create an action plan and implement changes at the 43 nursing homes and 44 assisted living facilities in Summit County.

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