The Dangers of Understaffed Nursing Homes
Understaffing in nursing homes is a serious and widespread problem. One study found that 85 percent of nursing homes are short-staffed and one-third are dangerously so.
What Happens in an Understaffed Nursing Home
The quality of care in a nursing home is directly related to the staffing level. When there aren’t enough employees, it’s not possible to provide high-quality care. These are some of the problems that have occurred in short-staffed nursing homes:
- Residents who wear adult diapers must wait so long to be taken to the bathroom that their diapers overflow and leak onto the floor, causing both psychological distress and urinary tract infections.
- Shortages of registered nurses leave residents without adequate medical care.
- Residents who need supervision but who are left unattended can fall, with serious health consequences.
- Bedridden residents are not turned frequently enough and develop dangerous bed sores.
- Workers in short-staffed nursing homes are under constant stress, which can lead to abuse of residents.
- Lack of adequate care can be fatal for elderly residents, who can die from staff mistakes or neglect.
Signs of Understaffing
If you are looking for a nursing home for a loved one, consider this tip from a nursing-home-resident advocate: Observe whether the teeth, fingernails and hair of the home’s residents look well-cared for. If not, according to the advocate, that can be a sign of short-staffing. The reason is that the care of teeth, fingernails and hair are often the first things to go when staff are overworked and short of time because these things don’t show up on the charts.
Other forms of abuse and neglect of residents can also be warning signs that a nursing home is dangerously understaffed. If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, you should be alert for signs such as changes in mood or behavior, bed sores or pressure sores, lack of cleanliness in your loved one’s clothes, body, room or the home’s common areas, or unexpected weight loss.
Get the Help You Need
If you think a loved one may have been abused in a nursing home, you can talk to a nursing home abuse lawyer at Garcia, Artigliere & Medby to find out about your legal remedies. We are leaders in the field of elder abuse law and are passionate about protecting the rights of nursing home residents. Call us at 1-800-281-8515 for a free, confidential consultation.