How Understaffed Nursing Homes Increase the Risk of Abuse and Neglect

understaffed nursing homesNursing homes are legally required to maintain adequate staff for the heath and safety of all residents. Unfortunately, understaffing in nursing homes is a very serious problem across the country. This can create a stressful work environment where nursing staff members are overwhelmed, overworked and expected to perform duties they may not be properly trained or qualified to do. 

When a nursing home does not have enough staff to deliver proper care, residents are at an increased risk of being abused and neglected. 

Why Are Nursing Homes Understaffed?

A nursing home may be understaffed for many reasons. Some facilities have trouble finding qualified caregivers and staff members who possess the skills and training needed to keep residents safe or care for those with special needs.

Nursing homes may cut labor costs by intentionally understaffing, so there are fewer employees on the payroll, and hire unskilled and unqualified caregivers at lower rates than caregivers with experience and training.

When a nursing home is understaffed, employees on shift must take on extra duties to make up for the lack of staff. This pushes caregivers beyond reasonable capabilities, and residents may suffer neglect as their individual needs are not taken care of adequately.

Understaffing creates a stressful work environment which leads to higher staff turnover rates. Caregivers may be pressured to work overtime regularly to meet resident care needs, increasing the likelihood of substandard care in nursing home facilities.

Consequences of Understaffing

Nursing home understaffing puts residents in danger. When a facility does not have enough employees to deliver proper care, health and safety issues can occur, including negligence and abuse. Residents may not receive the attention they need and can suffer harm to their physical and emotional well-being.

Nursing home negligence occurs when the needs of residents are purposefully ignored by caregivers. Forms of nursing home negligence include:

  • Intentionally ignoring resident basic needs, including food, water, hygiene and clothing
  • Leaving residents in their beds the entire day, causing infections and bedsores
  • Purposefully ignoring specific residents

Nursing home abuse can seriously damage a resident’s mental and physical health. Abusive actions by staff members may include:

  • Name-calling residents
  • Verbally threatening residents
  • Failing to give medications
  • Giving too much medication
  • Physically assaulting residents
  • Psychologically torturing residents

As a result of nursing home neglect and abuse, residents can suffer physical and emotional harm, such as:

  • Immobility-related harm, including bedsores, skin infections and muscle atrophy
  • Falls, as residents attempt to do things for themselves without the assistance of an aide
  • Poor hygiene leading to infections, as residents do not receive proper grooming or bathing care, leaving the resident in soiled clothing or bedding
  • Malnutrition and dehydration if residents do not receive the help they need to eat and drink
  • Medication errors, as untrained staff administer incorrect dosages or the wrong medications to residents

Preventing Nursing Home Understaffing

To prevent nursing home understaffing, facilities should strictly adhere to guidelines for proper staffing and high quality resident care. This includes providing adequate treatment, services, supervision and support to meet the needs of each resident.

When nursing homes fail to properly staff their facilities, they should be held responsible when residents are injured because of their staff’s actions or inaction. A skilled nursing home abuse lawyer can help your family take legal action against the nursing home on your loved one’s behalf.

Contact a Licensed Attorney for Legal Help Now

If you think your loved one is not receiving adequate care, request a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your legal options with one of our qualified Sacramento nursing home abuse lawyers at the Arnold Law Firm. We will fight to hold negligent providers accountable for the harm they cause and recover the compensation you deserve.

Request a free, no-obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available. We require no upfront fees and you only pay us if we recover compensation for your case.

Call (916) 777-7777 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form now.