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Nursing emergency in Germany: 25,000 specialists are missing


Study examines the current situation in inpatient care

The German Institute for Applied Nursing Research (DIP) in Cologne recently published a representative nationwide survey on the current situation in the nursing sector. This shows that 17,000 nursing jobs cannot be filled due to a shortage of skilled workers. According to the study, 25,000 additional specialists are needed to close this gap.

In the so-called care thermometer 2018, the DIP summarizes the results of the investigation. It was shown that the nursing facilities are already pushing the limits of resilience, and in some cases have already exceeded them. 71 percent of the facilities indicated that waiting lists for fully inpatient long-term care places exist. 83 percent have to regularly reject admission requests. Furthermore, 42 percent of the facilities said that they could either provide no or too few short-term care places. Only 38 percent stated that their range of care is fully secured.

Specialists as a bottleneck

"The staff shortages lead to waiting lists and cancellations of care requests in the facilities," study director Professor Michael Isfort reports in a press release on the study results. In more than one in five companies there is a temporary admission freeze due to the lack of personnel. The existing staff are exposed to extreme stress. According to Isfort, this can also be seen in the increased number of absenteeism cases and by stepping in on free days.

What is the situation of the residents?

The report also describes changes in home residents. Managers indicated that an average of two out of three residents suffer from neurocognitive disorders (e.g. dementia such as Alzheimer's). 82 percent saw an increase in complex medical problems. Problems of addiction, loneliness and neglect have also increased. Thus, growing problems face a shrinking number of staff.

Retirement home and psychiatry in one?

Due to the increasing number of neurocognitive disorders, the homes must increasingly develop the character of a gerontopsychiatric specialist facility in order to ensure dignified and palliative care at the end of life.

Not just bad news

Current legal reforms were able to provide initial relief. “Measures to reduce bureaucracy appear to actually reduce the workload on the staff and improve the clarity of the documentation,” reports Isfort. However, there are numerous other bureaucratic areas that need to be detoxified. Isfort cites complex, but not very meaningful quality measurements as an example. "A clear rejection is given to the nursing TÜV in its current form," explains Isfort.

Care levels instead of care levels

A key change is the change of care levels to care levels. Many institutions are critical of this changeover. The main fear of many nurses is that many nursing cases will be classified as lower due to the changeover and that this will result in financial losses. A possible result would be that institutions primarily accept people with high levels of care. (vb)

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