The healthcare industry is struggling to keep up with the increasing needs of the senior population. As a result, medical facilities and nursing homes do not have the staff for proper care. The risk of injury increases when long-term care facilities are understaffed.
Nursing homes have a duty to provide adequate care. Abandonment and neglect from understaffing is no excuse. Your loved one should not have to suffer from poor care in a nursing home.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm if your spouse or parent has suffered an injury or worse because of understaffing at their nursing home. A Fort Worth understaffing lawyer from our team can investigate your claim to seek financial compensation for your damages and losses. Call us at (800) 842-6336 to find out more.
Understaffing in Nursing Homes
The resident-to-staff ratio is an important number. Eight-to-one means that for every one staff member, there are eight residents. This does not mean that one person is strictly responsible for eight residents. Still, employees may feel overwhelmed when the resident ratio is high.
Several problems can occur from not having enough direct-care personnel for a susceptible population like the elderly. Residents are more likely to suffer injury or a decline in health when the nursing home cannot provide basic care.
A nursing home may be understaffed simply because it cannot find qualified employees. Other reasons for not having enough staff can include:
- Not having enough labor funds to pay for needed staff members.
- Employees leaving for better pay or conditions.
- Management trying to increase profits.
Even if it appears that there are enough employees, the facility may be understaffed. According to Texas Administrative Code §19.1001, nursing homes must have sufficient staff and meet minimum time requirements. Some of these regulations include the following:
- Having a registered nurse as the director of nursing 40 hours a week
- Using a registered nurse’s services for a minimum of eight hours a day for seven uninterrupted days
- Not using nursing aids with fewer than four months of experience
- Having adequate staff members to provide 24-hour care
- Only having permanent employees
- Not using temporary employees unless under certain cases
A nursing home can be understaffed by type of medical personnel. Some examples include not having a registered nurse for a sufficient number of hours or using employees not trained for the position. Even if the number of workers seems reasonable, the level of care may not meet standards.
Nursing homes may hire lower-paid workers than costly licensed professionals. Unqualified employees might not know how to handle certain situations.
Nursing Home Understaffing Consequences
Understaffing in nursing homes takes a toll on employees and residents.
Taking care of seniors is tiresome work. Residents may require care from the start of the day and well into the night. Immobile residents need the most attention and care, including toileting, bathing, dressing, and feeding.
Understaffing affects employees first. They might have a bigger work burden due to the lack of personnel. Some may complete the work of two or work longer hours, both causing fatigue. Exhaustion can lead to mistakes, neglect, and frustration.
Mistakes and accidents from understaffing can cause injury. An employee might give a resident the wrong medication. A resident might slip if everyone was too busy to notice or clean up a spill.
Neglect in a nursing home is a failure to provide care. Overworked employees may neglect residents. The consequences of neglect can cause the following examples:
- Workers might need to move some residents every few hours to prevent bedsores. Bedsores can become infected and cause long-standing health issues, especially if the infection is not caught soon enough.
- Workers might not check on each patient frequently. A patient who falls could lay on the floor in pain for hours if not checked on. In some cases, abandoning a resident could result in death as they wait for medical help.
Nursing home workers who are tired might not have the patience for slow-moving seniors or the stamina for care. Physical abuse can occur in nursing homes just from gripping too tightly or moving too quickly. For instance, a care worker might rush dressing a resident to move onto the next task and cause bruising, cuts, or sprains.
Nursing home staff members may become abusive under harsh working conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 10% of those older than 60 years old experience elder abuse.
For a free legal consultation with a Understaffing Lawyer serving Fort Worth, call (800) 794-0444
If your family member suffered an injury because of understaffing, you have two years to file a lawsuit, according to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003. A Fort Worth understaffing lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can review your claim and help you move forward with the legal process.
In understaffing lawsuits, the nursing home is typically responsible for the consequences of poor care. Nursing homes are like other businesses, and they carry insurance in cases of litigation. Insurance companies will try to settle claims out of court to avoid additional costs.
You might need to show evidence that the nursing home’s lack of staff caused you losses. A copy of the employees’ schedule and the resident roster can show the resident-to-staff ratio. The insurance company will try to deny blame or offer a low payment.
Our team can negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company and fight for the awards you seek. The following are some factors you may consider in your lawsuit calculation:
- Medical bills to treat injuries
- Expenses to relocate to a different nursing home
- Pain and suffering
- Legal fees
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we work on a contingency basis. You will not have an upfront cost for our services. Our fee comes from your lawsuit awards. We do not shy away from tough cases. If you want a Fort Worth understaffing lawyer, contact us at (800) 842-6336 and speak to one of our representatives.