How Understaffing Affects Nursing Home Residents

shutterstock_251528320-300x200One of the main reasons for placing your loved one into a nursing home may be that they need care and supervision they simply can’t get at home. However, this very important factor may be undermined by understaffing in nursing homes. Unfortunately, understaffing in nursing homes is a common problem throughout the country. Read on to learn about the understaffing problems in nursing homes and how the resident to staff ratio can impact the quality of care in these facilities.

Immobile Residents

Since many nursing home residents have mobility issues and have difficulty moving independently, they rely heavily on staff for help. For instance, understaffing can lead to occasions when the staff members are unable to turn the residents in bed enough times or to move them around to avoid muscle atrophy. Because they occur when an individual remains in the same position for too long a period, bedsores can also occur. Immobility can also lead to skin infections, and falls, which can result in even more serious injuries.

 Neglect of Nursing Home Residents

 Nursing home neglect often occurs when nursing homes are understaffed. Because the facilities don’t have enough staff to go around, the ones that are on the job are overworked and suffer from fatigue. Because of this, the residents may not receive the amount of attention that they deserve; problems can arise with keeping up with the residents’ meal preparation and medication schedules. Consequences of this can result in malnutrition and dehydration, as well as complications, such as medication errors because of untimely medication schedules.

 Abuse of Nursing Home Residents

 When you have understaffing conditions combined with stressed out and underpaid workers, it can create an environment where abuse is more likely to occur. This can be both unintentional and intentional. For instance, a staff member arrives for their shift at the facility already tired and they have to commute home after the shift. Time is a factor and the worker may have less patience when providing care to a resident, possibly even lashing out at them. Because of this, the nursing home resident may feel insecure and not comfortable addressing this, for fear of being disciplined or ridiculed.

 Preventing Nursing Home Understaffing Consequences

When nursing home residents and their relatives make the decision to enter a nursing home, they put their trust in the administrators and the staff to create a safe and comfortable environment with enough staff to accommodate residents’ physical and mental welfare. However, the reality can be very different. Since this issue is a societal problem, one way to deal with it is to increase awareness of the problem and encourage stricter penalties for nursing home violations caused by understaffing.

 Talk to a Nursing Home Attorney about Understaffing in Nursing Homes

If you are considering nursing homes, and the powers that be are reluctant to share their resident to staff ratio data, then you should consider another facility. If your relative is already placed and you’re worried that understaffing has led to their mistreatment, you should seek advice from an experienced attorney. A Walton Law attorney can assist with nursing home abuse and victims seeking to recover funds related to intentional understaffing at nursing homes. Contact us right away for more information.

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