Understaffing in Nursing Homes
At their best, nursing homes are stable, clean facilities equipped with a supportive community and on-demand healthcare meant to aid those who are no longer able to care for themselves. However, the quality of a nursing home is largely dependent on the level of care that can be afforded to patients, making many understaffed nursing homes an unreliable solution for those wishing to provide their elderly loved ones with ‘round-the-clock care. Unfortunately, for the 90% of nursing homes that are understaffed, patients are unable to receive the level of individualized care that aging nursing home patients need. Because the cost of labor in a nursing home is more expensive than other care facilities, many administrations cannot afford to hire extra nursing staff for the continuous number of patients coming and going. Furthermore, the increasing levels of stress and frequent overtime that nursing homes expose their underpaid staff to can make working in other health facilities more appealing to registered nurses and caregivers, contributing to the cycle of too few staff members.
The ramifications of a lack of personnel are such that the needs of the patient often go overlooked in sometimes subtle ways. Some folks may not receive their medication when they are supposed to, and others may not receive enough time outdoors. For elderly patients who are immobile and need assistance with basic tasks like eating, walking, and going to the bathroom, the consequences of an understaffed home can be particularly severe. For example, if a nurse or caregiver forgets to turn a bedridden patient every few hours, the patient may develop bedsores or other infections. While the number of patients checking into nursing homes rarely stops or slows down, a lack of caregivers results in additional duties for existing staff, many of whom are stretched thin to the point of being unable to give each patient individualized attention.
Effects of Understaffed Nursing Homes
The consequences of an overworked, underpaid staff are piled onto neglected patients, who suffer from not receiving individualized care. Common effects of understaffed nursing homes on a patient’s care include:
- Missed changes in a patient’s condition
- Dangerous infections due to accidental neglect
- Overlooking details in treatment that could detriment a patient
- Giving a patient the wrong medication
- Slip and fall injuries
- Stress and frustration among nursing staff, which may lead to abuse of patients
Nursing facilities often struggle to maintain medical professionals and qualified personnel, resulting in the hasty hiring of unqualified caregivers—this is a direct cause of neglected or abused patients.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Learning that your loved one has been in an abusive or neglectful environment can be shocking and heart-wrenching. Taking advantage of defenseless elderly persons is an egregious act that should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. At Peck Ritchey, LLC, our dedicated nursing home abuse attorneys are well-versed in elder law and fight to defend the rights of mistreated classes. If you or someone you love has been the victim of nursing home abuse, don’t hesitate to contact our compassionate legal team at (855) 328-5787 to discuss your case.